September 8, 2010 § 2 Comments
Call me crazy, but I love food and I love to try different things. My kids have watched the movie Ratatouille more times than I can count and I decided I wanted to try to make it. Mind you, I didn’t want to make the difficult gourmet version as Remi did on the movie. No I found a simple recipe for ratatouille in the crock-pot. Yes, I said crock-pot. Did you hear that? It was all the true foodies around the world are groaning that I would put fresh vegetables and spices in a pot that is bound to cook them until mushy. Was it mushy? Yes. Was it delicious? The answer is yes. Did my kids hate it? Well, I got mixed reviews, but the kindest response I received came from my seven year-old. “This isn’t my favorite, mom, but I am going to eat it anyway.” That is code for, “I don’t really like it, but I will swallow enough so that I can have dessert.” The dessert was a baked strawberry pie for those who wanted to know. It was a pretty good motivator for her, but my other two sweet children, well that is another story completely. Without including all the details (I would hate to incriminate anyone), daddy had to dole out some tough love. In the midst of the post tough love debriefing daddy said, “Who made this food? Right mom. Would mom or I make you eat food that wasn’t good for you?” The answer was given, “no.” The food was begrudgingly swallowed with the appropriate about of water to wash it down, and our meal continued.
However the question was still ringing in my ears. As if God Himself was looking at me saying, “Angela, who brought you to this point in your life? Who gave you air to breathe; who makes your heart beat; who has provided food, shelter, clothes for you?”
Gulping I look up into His eyes. His eyes are tender, loving, but also full of sadness. “You,” quivers my tiny voice.
“Will I allow you to go somewhere I do not go with you? Do I not deliver you from trials, do I not hem you in? Then why do you struggle against what I am bringing into your life? Why do you seek your way, when My way is better?”
Yes, why must I have it my way? Maybe it is possible that I am high-strung a bit…Ok, I was on the debate team in High School. I like being right, to have it all together, to orchestrate my day, week, month, year, life. Admittedly I can be self-centered and God doesn’t really go for that. In fact the last time I checked the universe doesn’t exactly revolve around me. Nope, it is God who has it all spinning in the right direction. If I were to drop dead tomorrow, the sun would still shine. All my scheming and planning are exercises in futility. So why am I compelled to continue? I am a sinful selfish creature and I often do not trust God. Oh, I say I trust Him. I sing songs about His faithfulness, but then I get angry and bitter and frustrated when He makes ratatouille instead of pizza. Am I the only one?
Here is the amazing thing: God loves me anyway. God tells me in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” So God is there before I am. He is ahead of me, He knows what will happen and He is there. He isn’t only two steps or more in front of me, He is also with me. Always. He won’t desert me or forget me or leave me hanging in the wind. No, He is there. So I don’t have to be afraid or discouraged. I also don’t have to try to keep all the plates spinning in my perfectly choreographed life. God already knows where I am going, He is there. He is also with me now and He will never leave, even if I don’t want ratatouille.
June 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
I prayed that God would use a difficult time in my life to glorify Him. I didn’t want to go through all that YUCK and PAIN for nothing. So I prayed He would use it. I never imagined where that prayer would take me, but let me tell you, I am AMAZED and HUMBLED by what He is doing.
First I had to get over myself. Seriously, I had decided that God would use my pain and yuck in a way that was easy on me. In a way that I could glorify Him at the time, but that I could walk through it and be done. How wrong I was. God has me writing a book about this very difficult time. He has me studying how to deal with difficult times and has me walking those roads again. I am exploring those old emotions, remembering the searing pain, and thanking God for it. WHY? Well, for one that road has brought me to my knees and closer to Him. I am more compassionate and humble now than when I started that road. That road has taught me that I can’t do life myself. I need friends to strengthen and sharpen me. That road has shown me that I can love a God who doesn’t work the way I think He should, but works infinitely better and more detailed that I could imagine.
Through this process of working on writing a book and writing a book proposal and studying God’s word for this book God is humbling me. However God is also encouraging me. So often we ask God to help us, but we don’t think to talk to those around us. We forget that God puts people in our paths for a reason. I have found the more I tell others about my book the more God blesses me. I have also found that I have to get over my pride and ask for help. Oh, I HATE that! I want to do it on my own, but I can’t. The more I have asked the more willing help I have found! Seriously? You mean it is that easy? Why haven’t I asked for help before? I am TOO PROUD! However God is good. He is bring my pride down…I must decrease and He must increase as John the Baptist said.
So how have I learned these lessons? The more people who hear about my book, the more encouragement and publishing contacts I have gained. Also because I swallowed my pride and my fear and asked, an organization is willing to read my book for a possible endorsement! Yes, me a nobody in publishing, someone who HATES to “bother” people with my stuff, who is timid and fearful often when it comes to something I have written, was BOLD. WHY? 2 Tim 1:7 “..God has not given [me] a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” So as I seek to honor and glorify God, He is encouraging me along this path. Does that mean this journey will turn up easy and all roses? NO WAY! However that means that God is good and faithful. He is bringing me closer to Him and opening my heart and mind to things I never expected. He is GOOD!!! ALL the time!
April 9, 2010 § 1 Comment
Have you ever thought, “God, You want ME to do THAT?! I mean seriously, God isn’t there something bigger, greater, better for me to do? You really mean for those other people to do that, not me. I’m in management.” How often have you walked away from an opportunity God has placed before you because it wasn’t how you planned it. You deserve better so why should God call you to help clean up trash or wash dishes or mow lawns or sweep floors. You have gifts.
It reminds me of Naaman the commander of King Aram’s army. You can find this story in 2Kings 5. He was a leper and desperate for healing. You know leprosy that skin disease that could eventually get to the point where your skin is literally falling off your muscle and bones. This powerful man couldn’t do anything to heal himself, he was most likely desperate. I am guessing he tried every herbal remedy, diet change, and medicine that was available to him. He was important to King Aram so I am sure he provided him with all the means necessary to try to rid himself of this disease, but it hadn’t worked. He may have even felt hopeless. We don’t know, but wouldn’t you? What we do know is that he was willing to listen to his young Israelite slave girl he had kidnapped during one of the raids on Israel. She told him about Elisha, the prophet in Samaria who could heal him. So he talks to King Aram saddles up with lots of gifts and heads out to find this prophet. When Elisha doesn’t even come to meet him, but sends a servant out with a message, Naaman is offended. In fact in the message he is told to wash seven times in the Jordan River. So know he is more than offended, he is ANGRY! ME, Naaman, commander of King Aram’s army, wash in the dirty stinky old Jordan? You have to be kidding me! However once he submits he is healed!
What are we refusing to do in our lives that may allow healing to flow? What are our Jordans? Are there people we need to forgive? Is it just having that servant spirit like Jesus and meeting peoples needs right where they are? What healing may flow to us if we humble ourselves and submit to God’s direction even when it seems like a little thing? What may God be preparing us for if we are faithful in the little things?
Oh Father God, may I be willing to lay down my best laid plans and be a servant like Jesus. Lord help me to follow Your plans for my life even if it means washing feet. Lord may I walk in humility with You and serve others as You did. May I lay down my pride, and be willing to bathe in my Jordan so that You can fully heal my life from the disease of sin. Father thank You for Your Son’s sacrifice and example. Please, make me more like Him.