Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is God Enough?

A little elf of a five-year-old came up to the counter tonight as I was cashiering at the bookstore. I love kids. I love talking to them and can often readily converse on some of their favorite things. Midweek things can be slow. There is more of a chance to have a brief conversation.

Well, I didn’t know how deep this conversation was going to go. Her mother was writing a check and didn’t seem inclined to save me, so I decided to go with diversion. “Would you like a sticker?” She started to ask another question and I said, “How about another?”

I'm posting today at the Internet Cafe. Click here to finish reading this post.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's My Party

It's an old song and I don't know the title or the artist or the context, but I do remember these lines:

"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."

I'm not sure what brought those words to mind recently. It's an interesting statement -- especially if you remember that parties are suppose to be happy occasions. Why would you want to cry at a party? Better yet, why would you want to cry at all? That's not to say that there aren't times when a good cry does wonders. My take on those lines is that more than a choice to cry, it is a choice to be unhappy.

Confession. As much as I would like to be an optimist, I am a pessimist at heart. I am more likely to tell you why something won't work than why it can. My glass is half empty. My worries get the best of me and dictate how I feel.

I don't think it is 100% a choice. Biology and circumstances do impact us. But what if 50% were a choice? What if only 30% were a choice? What if only 10% were a choice? I wonder going into today that even if a fraction of my mood were a choice and I exercised the choice to choose to be happy and if not completely happy -- content -- how would that impact my day? How would it impact my relationships or my circumstances? My guess is I might feel even just a little bit less stressed.

I am writing this at 6:20 AM. It's not unusual for me to be headed out in next 30 minutes or so. What is unusual is that I'm finishing up 2 loads of laundry. So, I've been up for a while. I don't have kids, but I do have pets. I was awoken this morning by one of my dear ones retching on the bed. So, the sheets needed to be washed as well as a large blanket. No, it's not my idea of a great way to wake up and I was pretty frustrated. But I am going to choose to be an optimist today:

  • I have a bed.
  • I have 3 pets I wouldn't change for the world in spite of making me need to do laundry.
  • I have a washing machine and dryer in my house.
  • I have a house.
  • I have a job.
  • While I don't have everything I want, I do have what I need.
  • I live in a country that affords me a host of freedoms.
  • I have Jesus.
It's my party and I choose today to be happy.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Things That Pull My Gaze Away

Like children, my pets are often jealous for my attention. If one is getting a belly rub, they all want their bellies rubbed. Hadley, my beagle, is probably the worst for it. She can be curled up somewhere dozing and if she opens an eye and catches one of the cats on my lap, she is there in a instant trying to get on too. Usually, she bulldozes Katy or Mali off my lap.

At night, I usually go to bed and Hadley joins me. Eventually the cats will follow. I've noticed that I can be giving Hadley some great one-on-one time (practically a full body massage) and she will hear one of the cats come in and be instantly drawn into an unwanted game of chase. Her focus moves from enjoying my company to wondering what those silly kitties are up to.

I must confess, I think I am like that with God. It's so easy for things going on in this world to pull my gaze away from God.

I think it is a bit like Peter in chapter 21 of John. Jesus has died and risen. He shows up on the beach to cook breakfast for the disciples and then pulls Peter away for a much needed talk. Peter's attention is drawn away by one of the other disciples.

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"

Jesus tells him not to worry about that disciple. It is none of his concern.

But I am just like Peter. I want to know, "What about so and so?" Or I say, "What about this situation? How is that going to work out?"

What I need to be doing is continuing to fix my gaze on Jesus and enjoy my time with Him.

Praying today that all of us would fix our gazes so firmly on Jesus that nothing will pull them away.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Roots and Wings

I don't like relationships to end. But the truth of the matter is that some relationships are meant to end. They are a learning place for someone to jump off from. I understand that, but I am still a bit sad about some news I received yesterday.

I've been a Compassion International sponsor for a number of years now. My first two children were Kayirangwa from Rwanda and Delia from Ecuador. Two years ago this summer, I learned that Delia's parents had opted to pull her from the program. There was no real reason given. It felt like a loss.

Compassion immediately sent me the picture of another little girl in Ecuador to consider sponsoring. Her name was Ambar. Though my heart yearned to know what was going on with Delia, I became Ambar's sponsor and began corresponding with her.

I logged onto my Compassion account to submit my giving for the month over the weekend. I was surprised by a note asking me to contact Compassion about Ambar. I confess that my heart sank a bit as I surmised that Ambar must have left the program. She was no longer listed on my account.

I emailed asking about it and left my work number so they could more easily get in touch with me. I got the email last night and a voice mail today.

I was right. Ambar's parents had decided to take her out of the program. However, it turns out that aside from missing her, there was really no reason to be downhearted about this turn of events. Ambar's family's circumstances have changed for the better. While I don't have the details, apparently they felt that the needs being met were no longer acute and they could care for her. They wanted a child who needed the spot to be able to benefit.

Ambar has continued to excel in school. She has now finished the fourth grade and her parents plan to allow her to continue her education.

And, the email told me that in the last several months, Ambar had become a Christian!

I've heard it said that being a parent is giving children roots and wings. They need both. I think, perhaps, that being a Compassion sponsor is a bit of the same thing. I'm so glad that I've been able to be part of giving Ambar roots and wings. I will continue to pray that God holds her close and brings her safely home to Him in the fullness of time.

I get to write Ambar one last letter. Please pray that I would know the right words.