Sunday, September 18, 2011

Me, Adventuresome? NOT!

Roger's Rock Face, Lake George, NY - We climbed the back side of this place
As much as I’d like to say I am adventuresome, there are a couple of examples that speak to the contrary:

I am learning Windows 7 with my new laptop and I am lost—so I am going through the tutorial videos to learn my way around. I like to do things correctly; that is to say I am not one to experiment with lots of different ways of doing things. Show me how to do it right then I can adapt it to my living-style. I can be adventurous within boundaries—safe places where I can be free to roam.

The other example that shows others just how timid I am, happened while on vacation in New York with my family. Our first day we decided to climb Roger’s Rock; we packed water and snacks, put on our hiking shoes and drove to the trail head. I recall someone mentioning something about a little hand over feet climbing as we went through the entrance gate of Roger’s Rock State Park…I wasn’t thinking anything of it at the time but decided since, that I need to update their site brochure to reflect the truth—this trail was not only poorly marked, it was dangerous!!

About 9/10ths of the way, straight up over rocks and crags, dodging loose rocks and hunting for safe footing, I became acutely aware that I would not be able to get back down. My thoughts then rambled to wondering if they had ever had to send in helicopter rescue for people like me that decided, “that’s it; I’m done.” And, then I proceeded to have a meltdown, complete with tears and panic-attack-like-shaking from within.

So, in front of my hike-a-mountain-a-day husband, and my three grown children—I became the child. The decision was made for me, that I would stay behind with my two daughters, standing on a 4x4 piece of level ground where I sat on a rock and hung onto a sapling for dear life. My husband and son continued to the top. All the while I just kept thinking, I have to go back down sometime--I don’t know if I can do it!

After what seemed like an hour, the guys were back and we began our descent, one steep step at a time. Every muscle screamed because of being scared out of my wits as rocks tumbled around us. It was then I decided that I am not very adventurous at all. Give me a nice stroll, a gentle climb, even a heart thumping hike, but I would forever avoid anything in the “challenging” category. I made it down safely with the help of my family and my God who protects me…but I was finished for the week. I’d had enough hiking and decided that sitting on the patio overlooking the water was just the adventure I was looking for.

The smile is because I am near the bottom!

So, as you can imagine, it takes a lot of coaxing to step out of my comfort zone. I can relate to the fear I see in the lives of those who God coaxed to serve Him. Abraham leaving his home to travel to an unknown place; Moses having to return to Pharoah and the land he’d fled from; Esther needing to approach the king; Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers and finding God’s purpose for him there…I am a wimp when it comes to climbing mountains by faith, but I know that if I am called, He will lead me step-by-step to His purpose for me, because He says, “Fear not, for I am with you” every step of the way.

“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Art of Letting Go

Welcome to my whirlwind--life has been a little nutty the last several weeks. We made it though  Hurricane Irene. I am getting on top of all my editing needed for the print deadline for THE OLIVE PRESS. My house still looks a bit like a battle zone because I haven't gotten caught up from all of the I have decided that my writer-brain is fighting with my editor-brain; so that means digging into my archive of articles to post here for sanity sake. Still a lesson I am learning...

The Art of Letting Go

Whereas some take art or dance lessons, I have needed repeated lessons in letting go. Letting go of what, you ask? Everything. Kids, details, worries, the future, the past, you name it and I need to relinquish it! Unlike art and dance lessons, these lessons are not such fun! Just when I think I am getting pretty good at it, another test comes along to prove that I need the Lord’s help just one more time. His lesson for me at this moment in life is letting go of my teenage children into his care.

It would be nice to receive a guide with your infant saying, At Age 2, Let Go Here, and At Age 7, Let Go There. You know, The Easy Guide to Letting Go Plan, or 12 Steps to Letting Go. But, I have come to realize there is not easy way to grasp this lesson. It is something that God teaches each of us one step at a time. One thing I have learned is this is a life long lesson.

Why do we try to hold on? What are we afraid of? It took me awhile to address these questions. The answers aren’t simple and they vary from person to person. For me, I think I hold on because it feels safer, like I have more control on outcomes. It is neatly wrapped in a ‘protecting my loved ones’ wrapper, but it is deeper than that. I think it stems from my fear of the unknown. What if I can’t handle what is ahead? What if I face a situation I am unfamiliar with?

What can we learn from scripture about surrendering our control?

* In Philippians 2:5-11, it says that Jesus relinquished his position and power to become a man in order for God’s purpose of redemption to be fulfilled.

* Abraham had to let go of his son Isaac and the promise when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain. (Genesis 22:1-18)

* Joseph needed to relinquish the feelings toward his brothers and trust God to use him in spite of all that happened against him. (Genesis 37, 39-45, and 50:17-21)

In each of these examples, surrender brought victory and a clearer understanding of who God is, and his ability to do what he says. We see his power at work in and around us and we will see his faithfulness as he accomplishes far more than we could ever imagine.

So, how can we let go of the things that burden us? Letting go means I am not in charge. I admit that is a tough one. I want to be in charge and my flesh often screams for control. But, God wants to be Lord of my life so that His Spirit flourishes in me. As we talk to Him about what we are facing, a trusting relationship begins to grow. We bring everything of concern to him and look for his perspective. We can ask for his guidance as to what our response should be. The more we trust him for the everyday things we face, the easier it will be to leave things in his care.

We need to know that God has plans for our future and our welfare (Jeremiah 29:11-13). When we recognize that he has our good in mind, we can trust him for what is ahead. He uses every circumstance to reveal himself to us and grow our faith. Surrendering control may seem like jumping off a cliff into the unknown. It is allowing God to catch us in his net of trust, knowing He will not fail us. With that step of faith, he will reveal his power in us and through us to handle whatever comes our way.

May you find His net beneath you,


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ravages of Irene

Life in New England is settling back to normal after the ravaging effects of Hurricane Irene. We lost power and water for six days, phone and internet service, threw out the contents of our refrigerator and chest freezer, and used buckets to fill with water at nearby locations in order to flush toilets and take sponge baths every morning before leaving for work. I work at a doctor’s office so there is no such thing as closing; they merely relocated our office staff to another location that had power to see patients. The hardest thing for me was once night fell and I was at the mercy of two candles and a flashlight for the evening; what else could I do but read?

I came face to face with how much I rely on electricity, water and the internet on a daily basis. It was hard to have it all gone in a stormy blast. I also realized how little water I can actually get by with using. Thankfully we have a small propane stove we used to heat water and a couple of meals till the food spoiled. I literally needed to survive day to day with what we had. We didn’t go without. Our needs were met; maybe not our wants, but we had food for each meal, water to drink and wash, and I read by candlelight in the evening until my eyes watered from the strain.

This whole experience made me more aware and more thankful for what I have. And, brought to life Matthew 7:31-32 that says, “Do not be anxious saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’…for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”

When our power was restored, I cried out in thankful relief to the One who provided my every need. He is Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. Whether in the midst of a real storm like Hurricane Irene or the storms of life that come upon us with the same devastation—He is there every moment of everyday.

What are you anxious about today? How is He your Jehovah-Jireh?

Thinking of you this week,