Tuesday, March 14, 2017

5-4-3-2-1



I am experiencing my life in numbers
Marking time and events
Making sense of what looks like chaos.
Just the act of writing it all out has reminded me 
of the grand adventure, 
this boring Jesus girl has been on
and the continued journey.


5   
This is the number of past Januaries 
I have purged and packed my home.
I was shocked to find this little statistic pop up 
in my January Facebook memories.
It had not occurred to me that this activity was consistently
happening at this time of year for the past five years.
At first, I was surprised.
I confess I grumbled and complained.
Remembering each item 
I once thought as precious that I gave away.
And the packing!
So much packing!
This is not a new skill I thought I would be acquiring.
But now, I can truly say, this is something that I am good at.
Not in a sarcastic or prideful way.
I have been able to use my experience to help others 
as they purge and pack.
What a funny, unexpected gift God gave me.
The many hours of January purging and packing will not go to waste.



4   
This is the number of addresses I have lived at in the last four years.
With each move, the emotion of it has become less and less.
I am older with each move, 
so I do get physically tired faster.
The weariness of unpacking has not gone away.
I have found myself saying things like, 
" I am so sick of packing and unpacking."
Shame on me!!!
Even now I am ashamed of complaining 
about such a first world problem.
I find myself struggling between 
knowing God continues to care for me
and my selfish complaining over the details.
The lessons of life that I have learned 
could not have been acquired any other way.
At first, all I could think about was my comfort,
my list of demands for each address.
But over time, 
as it became apparent that our address would change,
my hearts desire changed too.
The gift...
understanding how temporary my life is,
and what is precious.
If I had stayed in one comfy cozy place 
my whole life 
I would not understand this.
My things are valueless,
even where I live is not important.
In each address, peace only came
once I dedicated the space 
that was so graciously given to me by the Lord.
I learned over time to pray 
in each corner,
and each room
for His presence to remain 
and that He may use it for His glory.
On the days where I still find myself 
longing for stability and comfort,
I must remind myself what I know...
that there is something more important 
beyond stability and comfort,
This is the ability to see
through the lens of service, 
and minister where ever I lay my head.



3   
This is the number of homes 
I have painted walls in 
over this current time period.
Another unexpected gift!
I actually know what "cutting in" means,
and my skills as a painter have improved with each home.
Painting the walls of the rooms of my current abode
has become a type of meditation time for me with the Lord.
I have come to enjoy the process of renewing a space 
and the time it takes to do that.
With each stroke of my paint brush
I pray, imagine, reflect
and speak blessings on the space God has provided.


2



This is the number of churches 
I have served and attended during this time period.
The gift of having two church bodies has been huge.
The experience has enlightened me 
to how vast and different "the church" is.
I have experienced the ups and downs of the Christian community,
Of investing in the broken and of being loved on.
This experience I would not trade for anything in the world.
It has caused me to understand that no matter where I am,
God's people can be found.
I wonder how the Apostle Paul did it.
Moving from one body onto the next.
Hoping he would come back around to see them again.
I feel that.
I love these two bodies,
who speak God's truth boldy
who continue to love on me
and pray for me.
The gift...
the understanding that I need to be involved in a church body,
no matter where I find myself.
It helps to keep me on track, 
to be fed so I can remain strong,
and it is the best place to go for truth and support.


This is the number of loves 
that walked and walks with me through thick and thin.
Through every change.
The pouting, the sighing, laughing, sleeplessness,
exhaustion, exploring, prayer, everything.
My guy was there.
So patient.
The gift...
a deeper love for one another than we have ever known.
He is my best friend.
So kind, loving and mercy giving.

As I look at these numbers, all I can do is fall on my face
I see my grumbly
complainy self
stumbling along
fighting to keep my eyes on Jesus 
and not on my circumstance
I thank God for these numbers
For giving me markers of reminders
And, it occurs to me that no matter what....
He is not letting go
He does not change
His love is consistent
He is helping my faith and trust to grow through this season
I do not deserve such a Savior


Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 (NCV)

There is a time for everything,
    and everything on earth has its special season.
There is a time to be born
    and a time to die.
There is a time to plant
    and a time to pull up plants.
There is a time to kill
    and a time to heal.
There is a time to destroy
    and a time to build.
There is a time to cry
    and a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad
    and a time to dance.
There is a time to throw away stones
    and a time to gather them.
There is a time to hug
    and a time not to hug.
There is a time to look for something
    and a time to stop looking for it.
There is a time to keep things
    and a time to throw things away.
There is a time to tear apart
    and a time to sew together.
There is a time to be silent
    and a time to speak.
There is a time to love
    and a time to hate.
There is a time for war
    and a time for peace.
Do people really gain anything from their work?
I saw the hard work God has given people to do.
God has given them a desire to know the future.
He does everything just right and on time,
but people can never completely understand what he is doing.
So I realize that the best thing for them
is to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live.
God wants all people to eat and drink and be happy in their work,
which are gifts from God.
I know that everything God does will continue forever.
People cannot add anything to what God has done,
and they cannot take anything away from it.
God does it this way to make people respect him.
What happens now has happened in the past,
    and what will happen in the future has happened before.
    God makes the same things happen again and again.


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