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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Asking for nothing to change

"...Life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change." - Ann Voskamp

This is a tough one.  Life throws us things that we'd rather not go through, and yet, kicking and screaming we usually have no choice but to keep moving forward.  Health problems, suffering, death, struggle... how can we receive it with thanks?  

I'm coming to learn that there's more value in the process and the learning through the struggles than we could ever imagine.  Like gold refined in the fire.  It can feel though that somehow God has left the situation.  Left us to fend for ourselves.  After all, how can a good God allow bad things to happen?  But, I believe that nothing separates us from the love of God.  Even if our feelings tell us differently.  Paul said "I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation" (2 Corinthians 7:4)  That might seem strange but I think it's because he'd come to realise the value of the struggle and that it would produce growth and a closer relationship with God.

Maybe we were expecting that life would be smooth... that we have a right to a plain sailing life, the perfect family, full health and no troubles.  I believe there's a bigger picture though, and that to remember that keeps us teachable, and changeable but also living a life of joy and peace despite our physical circumstances.

"...those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:5&6

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Birthday and the Gifts

Well, tomorrow is my 26th birthday and I can't quite believe it!  I'm re-reading one of my favourite books "One Thousand Gifts" (Ann Voskamp) at the moment, and this morning's chapter was "a sanctuary of time" and starts with a quote:
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us" - J.R.R Tolkien
I've had 26 years so far and know that I've spent a lot of it learning, growing and building some amazing friendships.  I want to keep on with that.  I also know that there's been quite a bit that I've spent rushing through or wishing for the next step.  I've never been a good one at contentment, satisfaction, patience and waiting!  
"Being in a hurry.  Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me.  I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry.  But a thousand broken and missed things lie in the wake of all the rushing... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time.  It turns out I was throwing it away." - Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God
Some lessons I really don't enjoy learning, but this one of slowing down, learning to rest in the moment, making the most of this season and enjoying the here and now... I'm enjoying it.  There's joy in the little things that easily gets missed when we fly by and constantly wish for the next thing.

Right now, being pregnant is a perfect example.  I'm looking to enjoy the days... and the nights!... in this season of a special kind of waiting.  I'm not wishing the time away - these last weeks as "just the two of us", the nights of being kicked awake by my son or daughter to be, and the days of exciting preparations and dreaming up names and faces for the babe we're soon to meet.  This is a season I don't want to rush, wishing away the weeks until the big day, I want to savour the moments and make the most of the time, counting it all as gifts... like a birthday every day!