There is a time for everything…Ecclesiastes 3:1
Have you ever noticed how things seem to change in bundles? I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s just an observation. It’s almost time to say good bye to one of the calmest, most peaceful, prayerful, pleasant summers I can ever remember. I got a lot of little projects finished, successfully ignored some icky projects, did some great reading and for the first time in my 22 years of parenting spent some time all alone in my house. This was most likely the last summer everyone will be living at home so I completely enjoyed the minutes we all spent together…I especially loved the times we were all parked at the table together. The supper conversation has changed dramatically over the years. Not once this summer did I have to remind anyone to sit still, chew with your mouth closed, mind your manners or finish your vegetables. There was a day when I didn’t think I’d ever get through a family supper without barking those words! The truth is, some of my quietest moments were at the dinner table. I was quiet because I enjoyed listening to my kids talk about work, school, careers, and sports. There were so many minutes of complete blessing! It was such an awesome summer that about half way through I was afraid I wouldn’t want it to end but I’m ready to turn the page.
School starts on Tuesday and I have a feeling the peace and quiet that has surrounded me this summer will be gone in an instant. It’s back to bells and voices and schedules and games and events and a new batch of middle lovelies every 50 minutes. I will trade my quiet days of scrubbing, baking, reading and praying for days filled with energy, questions, lessons and loudness; and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m excited for Jason and Kevin as they spread their wings and live without my cooking and expert laundry doing and I’m excited for Shannon and all the fun and excitement that comes with a senior year, but mostly I’m excited for the challenges and blessings God has in store for me.
I knew in order to make the transition from little to middle lovelies I had to turn school off for a while and find my peace and balance. As humans we aren’t so good at that. I’ve come to some conclusions. 1) Time doesn’t slow down; you have to do the slowing. There will always be stuff going on but stillness is where God can find you and bring peace. 2) Things did get done without me. I’ve never been very good at saying no but this summer I discovered that when you do, someone else says yes. 3) Life comes in stages just like books come in chapters. You’ll never get to the great ending if you don’t keep turning the pages and following along. 4) My front porch is not just architecture and a lawn chair storage area…it’s for sitting, visiting, praying, writing and reading even in the middle of the day when there are chores to be done. 5) The more you make time for quiet stillness, the greater the peace; the greater the peace the greater the contentment and with contentment comes clearer perspective, less stress a more prayerful heart and a happier demeanor. Who knew!
I feel a little like a lawn chair parked in the shallow ocean water. Life is rolling by and changing but it’s washing over me like warm waves and a gentle breeze. My prayer the first day of summer vacation was “God, help me be still, I’m lousy at it!” Not only did he do what I asked, he has blessed me greatly while doing it. Busy isn’t always a choice, but stillness is…perhaps the best choice we can make.
A Seed To Plant: As we head into this long holiday weekend, take some time to be still and pray about how you can incorporate some stillness into each week this fall. It is possible if you want it to be and if you use that time to seek his will and his plan for your life you will be blessed abundantly!
Blessings on your day!
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Last week was one crazy mess! There was not a day that I had more than an hour at a time without something scheduled. After my lovely peaceful, quiet, slow paced summer last week felt like I had been tangled up in a tornado! As I sat down last Sunday night to look at the events of the week ahead I thought I might hyperventilate or croak! Well, I’m happy to report that I not only survived but I can say it was a terrific week! Ya wana know why? I gave the week completely to God.
Sometimes I get a little sassy with God. Last Monday morning I told him we had a serious problem that I couldn’t manage. I told him I needed help. As I sat in quiet prayer, the words that came to my mind were…thank you for the invitation Sheri, but I don’t need your help at all, give the week completely and totally to me. Of course I argued with him a little and in my sassiness I remind him that the week included finishing my classroom, an all-day meeting, an all-day volleyball tournament, overnight company, a parent conference, cleaning the house and garage to host a party for a few dozen guests, a prayer meeting, a book club meeting, an eye exam, a family wedding and several other events sprinkled in just for fun! As I lifted it all up to him I can’t even explain the feeling of complete peace that washed over me and blanketed me all week.
Here are some of the highlights. Two high school students showed up one morning out of nowhere to help me work in my classroom. The all-day meeting was great nourishment for my soul. The volleyball tournament was one laugh after another with some really great other moms. The eye appointment that was supposed to take more than an hour was done in 25 minutes. Band practice was cancelled the night we had an overnight guest so I had extra help from Shannon with dinner and entertaining. The overnight company was so much fun and filled the time with laughter, prayer and excellent conversation. The prayer and book club meetings were full of blessings. Some car trouble made it necessary to change the location of the prayer meeting to our house. I got home and had an hour to get the house tidied and make a dessert. I decided to make a chocolate chip bar cookie and discovered nearly the entire bag of chocolate chips had been eaten but then I spied a bag of forgotten M&M’s in the back of the pantry! I stood in awe as one thing after another just clicked perfectly into place. There was not one minute of struggle or stress the entire week. He even took care of a major wardrobe malfunction. As I was getting ready for the wedding; the zipper in my dress wouldn’t do its job and close the back of my dress…not a good look! As I was jamming it back into the closet and searching for something to wear a hanger fell to the floor containing a skirt that I hadn’t even considered. As I bent to pick it up, I hit my head on the shelf and off tumbled a top that I had never worn with that skirt. I had the perfect necklace lying on the dresser so I was ready in a flash in what seemed like a totally new outfit. We got home from the volleyball tournament more than an hour before the party guests arrived and the weather was perfect and the laughter and friendship was great. He took it all!
I have to let you in on a little secret though. My part of the deal was to make sure that no matter how busy the day was, I had to make sure I didn’t cheat him out of any of his minutes during morning prayer. One morning when I was tempted to cut it short to get moving a little sooner, the person I was supposed to meet with that morning called and said they would be running about 30 minutes late. He even made sure we had time to be together. I believe God multiplies time and I’ve never felt so loved!
A Seed To Plant: Give him your schedule and your to-do list…really give it to him and be prepared to be loved and amazed!
Blessings on your day!
If you love me you will keep my commandments. John:14:15
Tuesday was the unofficial start of school. It was the day all 700 plus Catholic School teachers from throughout the Diocese of Lansing gathered for the day to learn, pray and renew our purpose and our mission of forming young disciples. It’s a day I always look forward to and this year’s event left me with a treasure I just have to share. The gift was compliments of an amazing man of faith and truth named Dan Mattson. He is a wonderful presenter with a fabulously delivered message that leaves you changed.
I think something we all wrestle with in our Christian walk is sin and God’s laws. It’s easy to get discouraged and a little frustrated about God’s laws and how our human nature can make it so darn hard to live within them. We can sometimes look at his laws as restricting and stiff. People have turned away from church thinking that if God really loved us he wouldn’t give us so many rules and regulations. To some, living his laws is like an intrusion on freedoms and pleasures. Dan gave an explanation so crystal clear and beautifully simple I’m going to repeat it to anyone who will listen! Dan showed a slide of his rescue dog Sophie. He told us shortly after he got her, she ran away and he looked and looked but couldn’t find her anywhere. He didn’t know where she was and he couldn’t protect her. Sometime later he got a call from the Sherriff’s department telling him they had his Sophie. Unfortunately in her little get away, she had been hit by a car. He nursed her back to health although some of her injuries never healed. He used this story to illustrate the love and freedom of God’s laws. If Sophie had stayed inside the fence where she was safe, protected and cared for by her master, she wouldn’t have gotten hurt. For Sophie, that fence seemed like a barrier and a hindrance and she felt trapped. In an attempt to escape her restriction she ventured outside the protection and safety of the fence and the result was a disaster.
Our free will is what makes us want to jump the fence. We don’t always realize that if we live within Gods laws, we will be safe and protected by our Heavenly Master. If we’re inside the fence and we are living within the boundaries he has set for us we will remain close to him and he will meet all our needs. If we jump the fence and go outside his laws and his ways we are purposely separating ourselves from him and that is a recipe for disaster. We have a choice to sin or go beyond the boundaries of his loving protection and he will always open the gate and welcome us back after we’ve jumped the fence but the further we stray from the loving protection of his boundaries the more danger we encounter. Jumping the fence or sinning brings great consequences that can take a long time to heal and rob us of our peace. Living inside that fence we will find contentment and true freedom; the freedom that comes from no guilt, no worry, no consequences and complete understanding that you are being lovingly protected and cared for. Inside the fence is the best place to be!
A Seed To Plant: Sit for a few quiet minutes and imagine yourself living contently inside a lush beautiful yard surrounded by a fence. Sit with the knowledge that you have everything you need and there is no danger or stress. Soak up the peacefulness and safety of that surrounding. Now think about the things that tempt you to jump that fence and separate yourself from that place. Ask your loving Master to help you overcome that temptation to step outside the protection of his laws.
God bless your day!
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