entrust tomorrow to HIM

Last week, our full extended family was gathered to celebrate Dad’s 80th birthday.  It was a joy to honor him and spoil him just a bit more than usual with so many of his favorite things:  all of us together under one roof (even if that totals 18!), delicious meals, lots of smiles, an over abundance of great desserts, fishing and bike rides and singing hymns around the piano!

As the week drew to a close and we packed our bags to travel back to our respective corners of the country, some of us wondered out loud when we might see each other again?

The truth is:  we don’t know!

We were reminded to cherish the times making memories while we have them, because none of us knows what tomorrow will hold – or even the rest of today!

On the first quiet morning back at home, I was thankful to come across a few verses and quotes that spoke right to my heart:

Proverbs 27:1 ~ Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring.

 “Christ alone holds all things together (Colossians 1:17) – each moment is laced with His grace.”  [Melissa Zaldivar, SRT]

 “Our hope in the grace and mercy and steadfast love of God is as certain as the finished work of Christ.  The great error in arrogantly thinking we know what tomorrow will bring is that it places our trust in ourselves and our circumstances, rather than in Christ alone.”  [Matt Redmond, HRT]

 “God will always accept the faith that puts its trust in Him.”  [Andrew Murray, Choice Gleanings]

I am so grateful that individually (from my Dad right on down!) and collectively as an extended family, we trust the Lord for what’s next.  We look forward to all HE has planned for us and for His grace to bring us back together again as He orchestrates.

As we return to lives that are largely separate from one another, we can trust God to move and work and provide and bless in each of our corners of the country.  We can entrust tomorrow – and each other – to HIM!

He holds tomorrow

I don’t know about tomorrow; I just live from day to day.

I don’t borrow from its sunshine for its skies may turn to gray.

I don’t worry o’er the future for I know what Jesus said.

And today I’ll walk beside Him For He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand

But I know who holds tomorrow

And I know who holds my hand.

I don’t know about tomorrow; it may bring me poverty.

But the One who feeds the sparrow is the One who stands by me.

And the path that be my portion may be through the flame or flood,

But His presence goes before me and I’m covered with His blood.

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand

But I know who holds tomorrow

And I know who holds my hand.

 – Alison Krauss –

Advertisements

feeling a bit lost

At the end of a long day, especially for him in a budget season at work (with too many late nights and early mornings), my husband held onto me a little longer than usual.  It was good to have him home!  I didn’t pull away.  I let time stand still for those stolen moments and just collapsed into his arms.

“You ok?” he asked.  “Yeah.  Why?” I responded, sounding surprised that he was concerned about me when he was the one weathering a stressful week.  But unlike any other human on earth, this man that I love has a way of taking my pulse in a glance.  And his question brought a little bit of honest from my heart.

With a sigh I admitted that summer is sometimes a really hard season for me.  It is hard to articulate this struggle, because it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  We are loving life without an alarm clock.  Our days are relatively quiet, easy, restful.  These are not what I would call problems!?

Except if, like me, you are a do-er who craves structure and goals and a well-mapped plan.  For me, there is such a thing as too open-ended, too free, too quiet.  I wrestle with this feeling that I’m all over the place and nowhere at the same time.  I feel disconnected from everyone and everything.  I wonder what on earth I have accomplished with these quiet, lonely days??!?

And there it is… “what I’ve accomplished…”

If the struggle wasn’t so real, I might just have a good laugh at myself and move on.  But I know this is one of those times the Lord is grabbing my attention.

Being still isn’t comfortable for me.  Not accomplishing isn’t comfortable either.  My mind flashes back to a familiar lesson He is always working on with me – more than any of my doing, He is so much more interested in my being – being close to Him, lost in the wonder of Him!

Each year, I rejoice in the first few days or weeks of a wide open schedule.  I sleep in and lounge and rest and soak in the chance to catch my breath.  And then it all goes south and I feel a bit lost.  But here’s the thing I am learning – that is exactly where the Lord is happy to find me!

When I am not too busy to notice, when I am not too driven to stop and look around, when I don’t have a clue and get that deep, uneasy feeling, He knows that His Spirit within me will cause me to reach for Him!

This goes beyond, “be still and know that I am God.”  (Psalm 46:10)  This is “be still and know… Me – walk this quiet path for a few weeks, that one that feels lonely sometimes, unfocused and unproductive, and take extra time to really know Me.”

let us know

I need to trust His leading – trust that there are treasured things He wants me to experience while the rest of my crazy life is on “pause”.  He wants me to forget about what I am doing, and see a clearer picture of what He is doing!  He wants me to rejoice in simply spending time with HIM, watching Him work, learning from Him.  He wants me to embrace this season of less distractions rather than fight against it!

“Oh, that we might know the LORD!  Let us press on to know Him.  He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”  Hosea 6:3

And so, I began to pray that I would become comfortable being uncomfortable and trust His process.  His answer is coming, even in little things.  A blog I follow encouraged its readers to look for “God-sightings” – where do I see the touch of His hand as I move through my day?  Then a fellow Bible study leader shared a prayer request for her own summer that she would spend any extra time with the Lord, “standing in a sea of grace, breathing His atmosphere.”  I admit that those words sound beautiful and captivating, but I don’t honestly know what that looks like in real time.  So I will do what I have learned to do – I will ask the Lord to show me!

Instead of suffocating in a fog of question marks and lack of vision, I want to breathe deeply, see Him more clearly, and let waves of God’s grace and peace wash over me in this lonely place.  I want to recognize His presence with me and hunger for more!  I want to reach the end of the summer with a knowing that He has drawn me aside – purposely taken me OUT of the action – to restore and refresh me, to give me a clearer vision of HIS plan.  And although I may still feel uncomfortable and a little bit lost sometimes, I already know that His preparation for what’s ahead will be like no other.  I will look back on these times of walking with Him alone and know:  these are the moments to treasure!

So I ask Him to take me by the hand and lead me through the patches of this season that feel so barren to me and help me find and rejoice in its hidden refreshing springs!

“But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 62:5-6

feeling lost 2

 

come aside to PRAY

Every year I live in denial that this day is coming.  I watch the temperature and humidity levels inch higher and higher as summer approaches, but I hold on to the hope that maybe this year won’t be as hot.  Or maybe just not yet.

Nope.

Today was the day.  Much like runners in the north finally cave and admit that the early days of winter have gotten just too cold, on the flip-side of the year, this south FL runner finally caved and decided it was just too hot and retreated inside to the treadmill.

About 30 minutes into my run I reached the last page of the prayer list I had propped up in front of me.  I noticed the first drops of sweat hit the clean, crisp print-out and just smiled.

IMG_0144

If this summer is anything like last year, that prayer list will have a journey all its own over the next few months.  By August it will be well worn, dog-eared, written on, sweat over, probably cried over, hauled to the gym, the beach, the pool, and carted along on our beloved trek to Pennsylvania in July!

“Jesus said, “come with Me to a quiet place and get some rest” … for there had been much coming and going, so they didn’t even have time to eat.”  Mark 6:31

Yes.  There has been much coming and going this year.  And one sad casualty has been less time at the table – for our family to enjoy a meal together (and Bible reading and prayer!) … OR for me to linger there by myself, reading and pondering… and praying.  Our bodies haven’t been fed very well, but our souls have suffered more.

We all need the pace to slow, the demands to quiet, and the motivation to re-establish some healthy habits.  I pray for the Lord to draw our hearts to Him, to show us how to reconnect with each other and with Him in a way that we can’t live without when school starts again!

Running and praying, praying while running, there really isn’t a better way to start any summer day.  It’s time to keep my body moving but still my heart.  Healthy choices that lead to other healthy choices, for my body, heart and soul!  I wonder what else I could prop up on the treadmill to feed my soul as I run this summer.  I have a feeling as I look to the Lord to guide that nudge, He will show me.

As I started the cool-down mode on the treadmill, I glanced from my list to the screen, taking in scenes of Trinity Mountains in California.  In those pictures, I was reminded of God’s beautiful creation, of His majestic power, of His delicate touch.  And I am thankful that even in a simple thing like trying to get a little exercise, He will meet me there.  That corner of the gym can become my own little bubble with Him – my very own “war room!”

I absolutely believe in the power of those prayers to impact the needs listed and the people included.  I also know that the hour spent in prayer will tune my heart to His, help me know Him better, and lead me to rejoice in Who He is and the ways He continues to amaze me!

And so, although I may dread the hottest part of our year outside, I really do treasure the quietest part of our year inside and the invaluable “come aside” times with my Savior as our routines shift into summer-mode!

come aside to pray 2

 

 

the best plan

In the mad dash that has been this year, we have crossed the threshold into June!  I may never have found firm footing, but I rejoice as we look forward to turning the alarm clocks OFF and welcoming a much slower pace.

Already, the backpacks are being cleaned out, school papers sorted and purged, and plans for the summer are falling into place.  We long for a wonderful mix of truly lazy days of summer with fun trips to see favorite faces and places.

I love this time of year, too, because it feels like my best opportunity to “come aside” with the Savior – unhindered!  When nothing is immediately pressing I can linger with an open Bible and my notebook, reading, pondering, digging for answers to new questions, praying for wisdom, and rejoicing in new found truth like it is long lost treasure!  Surrounded by my books (often still in PJs, plopped in the middle of my pillows and covers in a quiet but fully day-lit room! – when else can I actually do that??!?), I can suddenly realize that 2 hours have gone by in a blink.  What a joy!

The more time I spend, the hungrier I get to spend more time with the Lord, pouring over His Word, letting His truth wash over me in refreshing streams.

Those times of quiet study and prayer also get my wheels turning and I think of all sorts of ideas about what else can fill our summer days.  Fun adventures close to home or possibilities further away OR long neglected projects around the house that would be awesome to finally complete – we bounce around those ideas and gather family votes.  How do we make these decisions??

Well… just as that question became a subconscious prayer, the answer came.  I was sorting through my own school papers on the desk, and found a few verses I had written out at the beginning of the year:

Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning

for I trust in You

Cause me to know the way I should walk

for I lift my soul to You

Teach me to do Your will

for You are my God

Lead me into the land of uprightness

for I am Your servant.

– Psalm 143:8, 10, 12 –

A lot of things may take a break over the summer, but our walk with God shouldn’t.  Our schedule may seem open-ended and we may feel free to choose whatever we please to fill those days.  But God’s plans for us are still best.  His desire for us is to know Him, to look to Him, to learn from Him, to live for Him as He directs.  His purposes for us never take a break – and they are always best!

So as I scan our plans, sketchy or more definite, I find myself asking the question – which of these choices helps me to know His loving kindness?  Which helps me to trust Him?  Which gives me the most confidence that I am in step with His eternal purposes?  Which helps me learn from Him, acknowledge Him as my God, serve Him with an upright heart?  Which reminds me and anyone watching that I am the Lord’s servant?

And here is the beautiful thing – if I take the time to ask Him, the Lord will show me which path to choose.  As I map out days for myself or for our family, He will lead us!  We can trust Him.  His plan is always best and it will always lead us to know and love Him more!  Who could ask for a better summer than that?!

His plan is best