Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Woman Thoughts

I should not be sitting at the computer. Movers arrived today with some of our things. Clothes, blankets, pots and pans sit in piles around me and I can almost hear their whispers, "Yoohoo! Put me away or I'll keep on taunting you."
Ah, it can wait.
For over a week some thoughts have been working themselves around in my mind. They were like pieces of a puzzle, each an important thought, a good and true thought that meant something to me...but I couldn't see how they fit together. I still don't know if they do but let's try this.
In Africa GOD positioned me in a really fun place. HE provided me the world's best job, which consequently ruined me for future employment. I had no desire to work. I find it infringes on my social time with my blessings.;)  That was my defense when my husband's boss asked to hire me.
"Just bring them with you," he countered.
"No Thanks," I replied.
"She'll take it," finished My Man.
As usual, My Man was right.  So, I accepted a job whose basic duty was to keep up employee morale.  I spent a few hours a day doing that. I worked with my husband with my kids always by my side. We became a fixture his...our work! Our family, including Daddy, were together every single day.  A lot of times a father's job can detract from his time at home and with his family.  This time, home invaded the office! Woohoo!! The kids didn't have to just entertain themselves, they were involved in the work we were doing.  There, everyone knew the kids. They were adored.  Sometimes people would poke their head in my office and ask to take them for a while. I'd find them a little later playing tennis down the halls, driving a golf cart, drawing on documents they probably shouldn't even be touching, or just listening to people talk.  It was rich. It was wonderful. They were like little incense sticks spreading around the aroma of JESUS.  I knew it was a brief season but it was better than anything I could have thought up for myself.
We worked together, we lived together, we played together. It was glorious. It felt like this was how it was supposed to be. Family, that is.  Not everyone in a different place and meeting up for dinner.  It was everyone doing the same thing and each of us in our own special role.
That was Thought 1.

Things are different now. Daddy is back to work on his own. We watch the clock and wait for him to walk through the door: the highlight of our day.
I haven't made any friends yet and my entire day is here in our home, cleaning, laundry and schooling the kids. I love it. I really really do. I'd be lying if I said I didn't. And yet, the other day while vacuuming the floor for the umpteenth time, the thought came to me, "What about me? I am always working and doing everything for the kids. What about something for me?"
That sounds ugly doesn't it. I'm fighting the temptation to press delete and send the evidence of such a thought into oblivion.  But, if I didn't admit to having that thought, I wouldn't be able to share the freeing truth GOD immediately provided when that self-centered thought reared its ugly head.
Here it is:  It's not about me.
Shocking, I know.  I tend to think everything is about me.  But, HE is right. It's not about me.  I get 18+ years with each of my babies, if the LORD wills it.  That's it! That's all! That's a very small part of my life.  I will have many years with only My Man. We'll do what we want, we'll go where we want. There will be no little toys to clean up. There won't be sticky little hands and kids running through the house.  This time right now, this is an honor.  My house, my life and my day get to be about someone big and three little someone elses.
I love it.
That was Thought 2.

Now for my favorite one. Here goes Thought 3.
I was talking to UJ and in conversation he mentioned something he's said before, but you know how it is.  Sometimes you have to hear things several times in several ways before it really reaches your core.  This time it hit my center.
He reminded me that life in this age is about building the body of JESUS.  The enemy is running around causing trouble. The government is a mess. Lawlessness is increased (SOMEONE told us these things would happen...).
It's easy to get shaken.
But there's a greater reality.  As a follower of JESUS, my job, my focus is to build the body of JESUS. That is the call of the FATHER on my life.  I can't get everyone and everything else straightened out. I can't get all stressed about that.  One day, when the body is complete, HE will stand and HE will set it all straight.  But right now as I am building the body, GOD is doing something in me...and in all of us who love HIM.  HE is maturing us. HE is allowing hardship and trial and weakness and pain and poverty and even the trouble the enemy stirs up to mold us into a mature bride.
That's what HE wants! HE wants a Bride...a mature Bride. HE wants a partner HE can work with.  When HE stands. When this life is done, we will be there as HIS pure bride doing awesome work with HIM...things that HE says are so wonderful we couldn't think them up if we tried!  I love that.
This reality means everything to me.  It has made everything else fade in comparison lately.  Things that normally rock me. Things that normally feel huge now feel small.  This life is short. These hardships, they are short.  The ugliness and the is short.  HE is from everlasting to everlasting. HE has invited me into HIS life and HIS heart.
I hear HIS bidding--"Focus" "Focus"
"Remember the call. Remember to build the Body. Don't worry about the other stuff. I will set it straight. You don't have to. Just build the body. Just focus on ME."
There is a time that would have been too simplistic, too churchy a thought for me, not real, not concrete.

But not anymore.Now I get it.  Now it's real. Now it's my reality.
My is all about HIM!

(Don't be scared..but it's what yours is about too...)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Life After A Dream Come True

For years the thing I wanted most was to go to Africa. (You already know this.)  I wanted my fair skinned little kids sitting on little benches next to those gorgeous African babies!  I wanted to walk her dirt streets and love on her people.  I read about it. I watched videos about it. I thought about it. I talked about it. I prayed about it.
I wanted it. I wanted it bad.

Then, in a glorious move, my GOD gave it to me! And I'll never get over it.  Every moment of my 14ish months there was rich.  I treasured it.

But now...

I am in Lisbon, Portugal.  It's a beautiful city.  I can see a panoramic view of the ocean from many of the windows in my house.  I can walk down clean streets to a little cafe for a freshly baked pastry and coffee. I can walk through spacious parks with breathtaking gardens.  There are ancient ruins, castles and a history that predates the Romans.  There is even an Ikea (which any reasonable person knows is a thing of beauty).

So why do I feel don't know.  How is one supposed to feel after their dream comes true? What do you do in the season after you get something you really wanted?

I've been thinking about my friend CB.  She had a good long love affair with her husband. She was comfortable. She was settled.  Her husband was attentive and spoiled her rotten. She was involved in her church and her community. She took care of her aging mother and in-laws like a champ.  She had a good circle of friends and she was content in her life. She was a good woman and a good church girl.
Then, GOD called her husband home...too early (in the opinion of our frail little hearts).  Then her mother in law.
As a fairly young widow, no one quite knew what do with her.  They were used to her being on his arm. His disappearing-eyed smiles wormed their way into everyone's hearts and put people at ease.  But CB on her own? That made people uncomfortable or at least, complacent.  They probably thought that a fiery red head like herself would be fine.
Some widows get the royal (biblical?) treatment.  But not CB.  Not even in the beginning.  She sat in the funeral parlor to make her husband's burial arrangements while the funeral director scolded her for not being easy to work with.  Then in the weeks and months that followed, her church allowed her to fade into the background. When she hadn't been in service for 4 months they finally made a phone call to see where she was.  And since a single woman makes outings with couple friends a little awkward,  those faded as well.

CB was confused.  She thought she had her life. She had her husband. She had her role.

But... there was a sleeping giant under all that: a hunger for the real living presence of JESUS.
And when GOD hears that cry from a church girl heart,  HE charges in, sword drawn, like a prince on a white horse to rescue her from the safe and settled, from the religious and the routine.  And thank GOD HE does!

So there she is, a single woman doing a new thing.  She is a wild lover of GOD trying to figure out who she is in this new season.

So here I am, a post-Africa woman doing a new thing.  I love HIM wildly and I am trying to figure out who I am in this new season.

But in this I have hope no matter the season:  JESUS CHRIST is alive in me and HIS promise that HE is always at work.  So, perhaps Portugal holds the adventure and wonder I've come to love in my walk with the FATHER? Or maybe it's just a quiet time to explore the country with the world's 3 coolest kids?  I don't know.

Or is it possible that the richest part of my life...and CB' still to come?
That would be just like HIM, you know.
Just when we thought HE couldn't get any better...