Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Do the Hard

I struggled with stamina a bit on my morning run today. Running is like that, some days I feel strong and can endure the miles, and some days I have to time myself for frequent one minute walk "breaks" in order to make it the full distance. I started looking ahead and picking out landmarks to reach before
I would allow a walk break. And I began a mental dialogue....

"Come on, Lori! Do the hard. Don't quit."

Traveling uphill to my landmark and determined to maintain my c...urrent pace, I told myself,

"Do the hard until the hard gets easier."

And a smile broke out across my face.

Because this is true in life too, isn't it? Some days we feel strong and can endure with ease. And some days our struggle is real.

On those types of days where our feet feel heavy, our lungs can't find a good rhythm, and we want to quit...we dig deep and do the hard work to accomplish our goals, one step at a time. One landmark at a time. So let's keep looking to God for our next small goal and moving in the right direction to accomplish it.

Because each step adds up. Each decision in life can either be propelling us towards our goal or taking us further away from it. We have the power of choice!

"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much;" ~Luke 16:10

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Accepting No

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty,
for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. 
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as the head above all. 
1 Chronicles 29:11 (ESV)
May I share a secret with you?

Sometimes I get tired of hearing the “feel good” narratives…even from the Christian community.

So often the stories told are ones of victory.  Stories where people prayed for years and God granted them their request.  I have those in my own life too; years of prayer where God eventually said, “Yes”.  Our children are a result of such prayers through years of failed adoptions and infertility.  I am grateful.  But guess what?
I also have stories of years of prayer where God said, “No”.  
Why don’t we hear more of those? 
Why are those stories not shared as beautiful tapestries of immense faith as well?
I’d love for someone to share how their life fell apart and they fought to still keep their eyes on Jesus, right in the midst of the chaos and yuck. How they don’t know the “why” and they don’t see the reason for their loss or pain.  That it doesn’t feel at all like God “chose” this outcome for the good of anyone, yet they still trust He will make good from it for eternal purposes.

I want to raise my hand and shake my head in affirmative solidarity that THIS STINKS and know that it is okay to hate the situation yet still adore God. That it is normal to have to work hard at finding the joy in all circumstances we are commanded to have; a discipline of joy rather than a natural response.

I guess I selfishly want to know someone else thinks they got totally cheated, that this isn’t fair. I want to not be handed a blanket of “it’s for the best” when I have two children in this home being raised without their daddy who was madly in love with them.
I guess my whole point to this thought pattern is…it is okay. We don’t have to have it all figured out in our accepting no from God.
Life doesn’t have to tie up in a pretty bow for it to have meaning and depth.
Our faith isn’t less than someone's who received an answer of “yes”.  As a matter of fact, having lived through both “yes’s” and “no’s”, I’d have to say in my personal case, my faith is stronger from the “no” journey than it was from the “yes”.

I recently heard a question on the radio.

“Do you believe God is in control?”

I repeated it aloud to myself. Really stopping to question, do I believe God is in control of ALL when Tim still died a horrendous death from cancer?  A death that God could have prevented, but chose not to; a death that ripped the hearts of many people (but especially the three of us) to shreds in grief…do I believe God is in control of THAT?

I turned off the radio and drove in silence.


Yes, I do believe God is in control. I believe He has the power to do anything He desires.  He is in control but He is not a controlling God.  There is a difference.  His eye is on eternity.  He is faithful.  On this earth we are guaranteed struggles and pain.  One of their purposes is to draw us closer to Him and to direct our focus to eternity.

So here I stand, sharing my “No” story and still raising my hands in honor to the God who is in control; the Faithful One who doesn’t equate my faith with an earthly happy ending, but instead equates it with the blessing of knowing Him better.

Father God, it is extremely possible that I will never understand the "No" answers this side of heaven, but I still call upon Your name as Faithful.  Thank You that You are less concerned with my desire to have all the answers and are more concerned with my eternal relationship with You.  I trust You even when I don't like the answers.  My story is no less relevant than stories with "yes's". Amen.