Tag Archive | waiting

Mother’s Day – look both ways before crossing

mom and kids crossing street.jpg.838x0_q67_crop-smartThis road is a busy one, traveled by the thankful, the frustrated, the exhausted, the overwhelmed, the happy, the sad, and the everything-in-between. Sometimes we march with determined steps and fixed gaze, confident and sure of where we are headed. Sometimes we watch and follow those with determined steps, completely unsure of where this road will lead. Sometimes we dance and sing and play along the way as if the journey is all that matters, the destination insignificant. Sometimes we just stop in the middle of the road and cry.

There are many who’ve walked before us, those who’ve completed the journey and others we can still see in the distance. If we are blessed, we have those who’ve already walked this road yet have turned back to walk it again by our sides, cheering us on, sharing their stories and giving us hope that we, too, will make it.

Some of us are on the sidelines, hopeful, waiting, resigned. We’ve been there a long time and seen many walk by. To stand still watching feels as if this is the only road worth traveling, all others meaningless and empty. Many speak as they pass, giving encouraging words and heartfelt prayers. Sometimes they stop and hold us while we cry. But they’re on the road and must move forward and they leave us feeling lonelier than ever.

Many have walked this road only to find our travel plans abruptly and heartbreakingly halted. We desperately wanted to complete this journey but now there’s no focus. We find ourselves paralyzed, unable to move. Walking alongside the others is painful and awkward. We don’t return to the sidelines. We just stop. We belong on the road…but now we only look back at the footbrints we left behind…

Before we cross this road or remain on the sidelines or move forward or stand still, let’s look both ways, or better yet, all around. Let’s take ourselves out of holiday mode and just stay in Jesus mode. Let’s share the love and the joys and the pains and the heartbreaks of just being human because for many this is a hard day.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, sharing their joy; mourn with those who mourn, sharing their sorrow. Romans 12:15

Bear one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ… Galatians 6:2

Nothing wrong with taking a gift or a card and spending time with your mother this Sunday. But do we really need a holiday to do that? Did you know that the woman who created Mother’s Day later denounced the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to get it off the calendar?? Yeah. That.

Mother’s Day – look both ways before crossing” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

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On birthing an Ishmael

Wilderness south of Machtesh Ramon3, tb q010403

It’s a quiet Saturday morning, the raging storms have slowed to heavy clouds and scattered showers. At least for now. I sit here sipping my herbal brew which has replaced my morning coffee and am fully enjoying both the brew and the stillness. I’ve had a full and productive week which brings its own satisfaction, a feeling which has escaped me for quite a few months. I embrace this return of peace to my soul and vow to never let go again. Easier said than done…

I think of Abraham and what it must have been like to pack up everything he had and move his family when he didn’t know where he was going. The changes God brought in my life a few years ago weren’t quite as dramatic, well, at least not geographically. I remain in the same city with family and friends near. I thought I knew where I was headed but my “wandering” has lasted longer than expected. Seeking His direction has become a much deeper experience and I’m realizing just how often I distrust my ability to discern the difference between my own way and His.

I can certainly identify with Abraham’s impatience. He’d heard from God a profound promise for his life. He’d obeyed the instructions that did not make sense and began his journey as a man of faith. He had every intention of doing exactly what God wanted but found himself yielding to the pressure to make something happen. So he did. And Ishmael was born.

There is pressure in the not knowing. Pressure from people…what are you doing? Pressure from the checkbook…how are you going to make ends meet?  Pressure from within…are you sure you heard Him? It’s easy to believe the pressure can be relieved if we would just do something. 

I embarked on a venture last year that had all the potential in the world to be successful. There is an untapped market in this area, I have the talents and abilities to provide the product and services, and the high-end nature of said product could provide a very sizable income as the business could expand even into international arenas.

I had someone to introduce me and guide me through the details of this particular market. I easily found the resources and supplies I would need, and so I began. The logistics and timing of my first productions were challenging to say the least. It was definitely a learning process for me and my guide, and we were both making our notes of how to do it better the next time. And while I was confident that I could do it and could envision the potential of this business, I was striving to make it happen.

Working hard and striving are not always the same thing. To strive can mean to devote serious effort or energy. That’s a good thing and can bring the sense of satisfaction I mentioned above. But striving can also mean to struggle in opposition, and deep in my soul I was striving with this new endeavor. I didn’t have that absolute peace that I was headed in the right direction.

Abraham yielded to the pressure from his wife and he acted on it hoping that it would bring him peace. It did not. Ishmael was an innocent child and Abraham loved his son but he was not the son of promise. I’m sure Abraham tried very hard to make him the son of promise, he could see his potential, but in his soul he knew. Ishmael’s presence brought grief rather than peace. There was nothing wrong with Ishmael but he was an obstacle in the plan and God had Abraham send him away into the wilderness.

I can only imagine the grief in the heart of Abraham at the loss of his son. It surely was an obedience that he wrestled with greatly. Yet he obeyed. And when he did, peace returned to his camp. The promised son would come in the right time and it would be because God did something, not Abraham.

While I still see the potential for this business endeavor, I have sent it to the wilderness. It’s not a part of His plan for me. Once I obeyed in the letting go, peace returned. Direction became clearer of where I am to continue walking. I’m tempted to look back and lament wasted time. But that in itself is wasted time. Rather I will chalk it up to the experience needed to get me to exactly where I am. At peace.

This is not the first time I’ve had to send a desire to the wilderness. I’ve spent much time in my life trying very hard to make things work that just weren’t right for me. Or their season had ended and I just wouldn’t let go. And leaving these things in the wilderness wasn’t easy. But realizing that these things would only bring grief if I held on was the call to obey.

Jesus talked about the kind of peace He provides. Peace that defies pressure. Peace that isn’t logical and that cannot be fully explained. Peace that positions us to hear Him more clearly. Peace from within that cannot be taken away. Peace that has nothing to do with what I can make happen but rather what He has already done. Peace that remains in the midst of hard work. Peace that will cause the world to hunger for what we have.

*There are many families in the greater Houston area that are dealing with the devastation of floods. Please pray that these families find God and His peace during these difficult times. Please consider a donation for disaster relief to help the many who have literally lost everything. Samaritan’s Purse is a favorite organization of mine and I invite you to follow this link in order to help Houstonians:   http://www.samaritanspurse.org

 

“On birthing an Ishmael” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

 

The silence speaks

If he had known the course his silence would chart, he would have spoken.  If he had known that his silence spoke to me lies of my unworthiness to be loved, he would have told me the very opposite – that he loved me more deeply than words could express.  His silence spoke his disappointment loudly and I was too young to understand that it spoke more about him and his pain than about me.  Through the pretense of the everyday as if nothing were wrong, his silence grew to be louder than any other voice my soul could hear.  And it broke my heart.

It was an excruciating pain to know that his eyes avoided mine no matter how close we stood, that his voice would not respond to mine no matter how clearly I spoke.  I stifled my cries as it was clear they would do no good nor bring about any change.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, the silence chiseled the fragile strands of any innocent childhood belief that I was good enough to be loved.

If he had known his silence would create in me a desperation that was easily wooed by sounds of false love, he would have spoken.  I had no warning that my opposition to him would cost so very much.  His silence taught me that the consequences of mistakes in love were to be feared and that I would have to work very hard to be good.  The emptiness left by the absence of the voice I adored most was mine to bear, and I while I gained sympathy from many who knew, deep inside I believed it to be just.  I believed I deserved it.

If he had known that his silence would teach me to be a pretender, he would have spoken because he despised pretenders.  But I had learned in his silence to put on a happy face and do the things before me as if it didn’t matter that I was broken.  By the time he spoke a chasm had formed, but we never talked about that either.  And in that chasm lay the belief that the key to love was to do and say and be what someone else wanted, and to keep silent about myself for no one wants someone who is broken.

I carried all that his silence taught me into the relationships I had and into my walk with God.  It’s easy to hear the message that God is angry when it is what you expect.  It is easy to believe that God can only approve of you if you do what is right.  It is easy to believe that you do not deserve His help if you do not do exactly as He commands.  It is easy to believe that His silence means you are unworthy of His love when silence is the very thing you fear.

My desperation and resulting failure at love were the very things that brought me to real Love.  Having nowhere to run and no place to hide and my pretense in shambles, my brokenness spilled out as if a mighty dam had crumbled.  Every sob I let forth was met with Tenderness.  Every sigh of unworthiness was captured by Mercy.  Every ache of unloveliness was comforted by extravagant Love.  Every effort to “do” was quenched by what was already “done”.  I found I was truly loved.

I am on a continuing journey of learning who He really is and what His love is all about.  And sometimes love is silent.  Like when a mother just looks at her child without a word because there are no words adequate to describe the love that rages inside.  She asks nothing of the child but to let her look, to not turn away.  I have learned that God’s love is like that.

I have to purpose to rest in His times of silent love because it is still easy for me to revert back to my impossible efforts and wrong ideas that I must somehow do something to deserve His love.  Just this week I was asking Him what to do with His silence, and He simply said

“My silence speaks:  Trust me.”

And I was not afraid.

 

The silence speaks” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

A good question

3D Character and Question Mark

I noticed the car in the parking lot with the hood up.  I assumed it was some poor soul having to stand out in the noon heat waiting for help to arrive.  I was on my way home for lunch and had slowed in preparation to stop at the red light, giving me time for a second glance his way.  I saw him moving and talking and it took a few seconds before I realized he was holding a microphone.  The light turned green and the few cars ahead of me began to move, but not so quickly that I couldn’t see his set up.  He had an amplifier and the microphone connected to his car battery and was passionately preaching.  Surrounded by cars with other hungry drivers, I had no opportunity to pause and listen and no openings to enter a different lane that would allow me to turn around.  So I drove on.

The first patient to be seen by the doctor after the lunch break was a close friend of mine.  When her appointment concluded she hung around for some conversation.  We moved quickly from talk of the everyday activities into current world events as she is passionate about the prophetic and keenly aware of things connected that escape the notice of many.  We are anxious to resume our weekly bible study which has been suspended during summer break.  Before leaving she began to describe something she had seen on her way in…a car with the hood up and a man preaching.  She was unable to hear what he had to say as well, but we were equally impressed with his courage to act on what he believed to be his purpose on that day.  “What did I do today?”  A rhetorical question she left hanging in the air as she departed.

It’s a good question.  One that in the past would have sent me spiraling into guilt, overwhelmed with the complexities of the problems and needs of our world, sure that I was not doing my part.  My studies into what it really means to be a Jesus-follower, however, have led me to examine my motives in all of my “doing”.  Am I acting out of guilt or pride or peer pressure?  Have my emotions been swayed by a passionate cause that screams “Do something!!”?  Have I moved from living by the leading of the Spirit into reactions lead by the compass of my opinions?

So let’s make the question better:

“What do You want me to do today?”

I’ve struggled with this question a lot lately because His answer seems too simple.  If you’ve followed me very long you already know that resting and waiting are relatively new to me and quite a challenge.  Quite frankly, I’m bored with my level of inactivity.  I am absolutely sure that I am right where God has led me to be and yet I am uncomfortable with my comfort.  It is hard not to feel guilty for the life of ease that I live when so many struggle for even the basic necessities of life.  I fear that I will be lulled into complacency by having an easy life.  Surely God wants more from me!

As I ponder these things, He reminds me “You are right where I have you.”  This does not require my understanding, only my surrender.  He takes me a simple path:  “When you lie in the comfort of your bed, pray for those who sleep on the ground.  When you submerge yourself in the tub for a bath, pray for those who need water.  When you are trying to find enough to do during your workday because your load is light, pray for those who are overwhelmed at work, and those who have no work.  Love those who cross your path today.  When I have more for you to do, I’ll let you know.”

To be a Jesus-follower is to do as He did.  He only said what the Father told Him to say and He only did what the Father told Him to do.

…I have never spoken on My own authority or of My own accord or as self-appointed, but the Father Who sent Me has Himself given Me orders concerning what to say and what to tell.  John 12:49

…for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way, in His turn.  John 5:19

There is only One that I need please with my life today.  And tomorrow I will begin the day asking  “What do You want me to do today?”

 

A good question” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peeling the onion

I love how God orchestrates the details of our lives.  I had no intention of returning to work beyond the walls of my home but I knew when He was leading otherwise.  Once I determined to search for a job, my criteria was very simple and specific for the “right” position.  First, it had to be part-time.  I wanted to continue my business as a seamstress and I wanted to have time to write and speak and teach.  Second, I didn’t want to have to go through a great deal of training.  I know it sounds a bit lazy, but I just wanted a no-brainer kind of job.  Something easy.  In sharing this new direction with a friend, she suggested that I go by her chiropractor’s office as she thought they were looking for someone.  I did and they were and it was exactly what I was looking for.  Sweet!

So for the past few months I’ve been working part-time for a chiropractor whose practice expands into the scope of wholeness – treatments and consultations that go beyond structural adjustments and into the areas of nutrition and health.  (Talk about accountability in what I pack for my lunch on work days!)  His knowledge of how the body works (or doesn’t work) physically, mentally, and emotionally is vast and I am learning a great deal from our conversations. Being of a certain age and dealing with the challenges and frustration of this certain age have proven more than I’ve been able to manage as well as I’d like on my own, so finding this position is simply one more revelation of His perfect leading in my life.  I am finding answers.  Slowly.  One by one.  This is not my preferred method to arrive at solutions.

The doctor says that it’s like peeling an onion.  There are many layers and the only way to see all that is in the onion is to peel back the layers one at a time.  (He didn’t mention that there would be tears…) And while he is helping me uncover the real reasons my knee hurts and my arm aches and the extra pounds just will not budge, God is still peeling away as well…

And He’s uncovered a layer of discontent.

I truly am in the best time in my life, but I’ve found myself more irritable and frustrated lately than usual.  Some days I haven’t wanted to look deeper than the outer layers, so I’ve blamed my grumpiness on being tired.  A lot.  And I am tired, but God is peeling away whether I like it or not and showing me that this layer of discontent is one of the things that is making me so tired.

As I’ve taken the time to look at this layer, most of the things I am discontented with are small things.  A few are bigger things with which I am frustrated because there seems to be no progress.  And of course, last but not least, I am discontented with myself.  Again, nothing major, but a clinging dissatisfaction with my own personal progress.

As I turned to scripture to see what it had to say about contentment, a familiar statement by Paul first came to mind.  But then I came across another that I’d never given much attention:

Godliness accompanied with contentment is great and abundant gain.  1 Timothy 6:6

We can be saved and redeemed and forgiven and still be discontent.  However, this godliness that we’ve been given needs to be connected to contentment, for our good and everyone else’s.  It’s not easy to live with a discontented person…

Now the more familiar words:

…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…  Philippians 4:11-12

There is a secret to being content in any and every situation and it must be LEARNED.  This is the secret:

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

and …Apart from Me – cut off from vital union with Me – you can do nothing.  John 15:5b

The Greek word for content is autarkes.  It means “sufficient in oneself, adequate, needing no assistance”

If I will learn that I am in vital union with Him – I cannot be separated from Him – and I draw my strength from this knowledge daily, sometimes breath by breath, I will be content.  He is enough that I need no other assistance.  He is in me and I am in Him and this fact alone makes me sufficient for whatever lies before me.

There have been a few tears in this peeling of the onion that is revealing my areas of discontent, and there will likely be a few more before it is all said and done.  But I will continue my education.  I will learn to be content.

 

 

I don’t know and I don’t care

Years ago I took a multiple choice test.  This particular test offered the usual assortment of possible A, B, & C answers to each question.  However, you can only imagine my delight when I discovered that the D answer was the same for each and every question:  I don’t know and I don’t care.  Sweet!  So given my hatred of word problems, each and every time I came to one, I selected D with absolutely no hesitation.  I daresay that I enjoyed taking this test solely based on the opportunity to refuse any attempt to solve whatever dilemma or equation was set before me in the dreaded word problem and declare that I simply do not know and do not care.  Perhaps this is the reason I achieved only an average score…no matter…it was so worth it!

Now I’ve decided to carry this same attitude into my life.

“What?!  How irresponsible!” you may gasp.  Let me explain…

Entering this season of life where I knew God was shaking things up, I stepped out in total confidence that I would trust Him with whatever He had in store.  But now as I look back, perhaps the more correct word is arrogance rather than confidence…  Oh, my faith hasn’t wavered.  I still stand strong knowing that God is doing a new thing.  My problem has come with my impatience.  I thought I would be further along in this journey by now.  I thought I would be full of fresh revelations and busy with the work I know I am called to do.  But I find that I continue to circle this mountain of learning to trust in the waiting.

I don’t know what’s next or how it will happen or when it will happen.  That’s easy to accept as His child because I know that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen*.  I regularly exercise my faith in the not knowing.  But can I honestly say that I don’t care what’s next or how it will happen or when it will happen?

The definition of the word “care” includes regard coming from desire or esteem, and I most certainly regard the plans and dreams I have with desire and esteem.  However the primary definition of “care” is:  suffering of mind; a disquieted state of mixed uncertainty, apprehension, and responsibility.  I must admit, the latter is the “care” I have been carrying concerning my present and future states.  And this is exactly the kind of “care” we are instructed to cast away:

“Casting the whole of your care – all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”  1 Peter 5:7

The intention in casting is to Throw it away – forcefully!  Deliberately!  Let it go!

This is not the first time in my life that I’ve had a lesson in casting.  I can look back and see the times God revealed to me the cares I was carrying and asked me to cast them, one by one, on Him.  I would spend quite a bit of time casting over and over and over until waking up one day to realize that I had finally once and for all cast my care of that thing on Him.  Ahhhh…the rest that is found there!

So today I pick up my anxiety, my worry, and my concern for all that is yet to be revealed, and I throw them off.  And later this afternoon, I’ll probably have to do it again.  And tonight, and tomorrow, and maybe more days than I would like.  But one day soon I will awake and know that I have let them go, once and for all, and I will again find rest for my soul.

When I look at it this way, having an attitude of I don’t know and I don’t care is exactly what He wants from me!

*Hebrews 11:1

 

I don’t know and I don’t care” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

 

 

 

 

She just doesn’t know it yet

He’s been watching her all her life.  He’s whispered to her time and time again but she didn’t hear.  He yearns to hold her and comfort her as she struggles.  It’s going to be all right, she just doesn’t know it yet.

She trembles with the fear of the unknown as her circumstances have stripped her of her identity.  She is strong, she just doesn’t know it yet.

The love that had been her foundation has been ripped away.  She yields to the new identity that presses in on her:  the unlovable.  She is immeasurably loved, she just doesn’t know it yet.

This roller coaster ride of choices makes her sick.  She hates herself because of her weakness.  His opinion of her remains unchanged, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Loneliness is her constant companion as no one wants on this ride with her.  She is not alone, she just doesn’t know it yet.

She goes through the motions of living while she entertains the thoughts of ending it all.  Her earthly life has eternal purpose, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Defeat hangs over her like a thick black cloud as she cannot go back and change the past.  Her knees buckle under the weight of the consequences.  She is redeemed, she just doesn’t know it yet.

She grasps to find hope in the words she reads and the messages she hears, but it seems she is grasping at air.  She is full of hope, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Her tears are constant from the pain of this deep, gaping wound from which she believes she will never recover.  She is healed, she just doesn’t know it yet.

She heard the words again today.  The same words she’s heard over and over, but this time something is different.  Can it really be true?  He loves her?  Something stirs inside her as she considers this possibility…something life-changing…

Her life is changing, she just doesn’t know it yet.

 

She just doesn’t know it yet” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com