not in control of my destiny. I am a unique individual created for purposes of planting seeds of love and peace in others.
not threatening. I am as gentle and beautiful as a butterfly. Although the butterfly works hard and long to get out of the cocoon, it is not to be deterred from the work involved as the butterfly never gives up. It is dark in the cocoon and it has no idea what beauty it has become until it sees itself in the reflection of a pond. The butterfly thinks, ‘Surely that is not I’, but all the other insects of the pond affirm that the butterfly is indeed that beautiful.
fueled by the words, “Be still and know that I am God.” God is in control of my destiny and he knows the plans he has for me. God does not make any mistakes. In fact, He takes the most broken, tattered and torn, and covers them with Himself. This is where beauty, wholeness, and life begin.
stepping out in faith.
not going to allow anyone or anything to steal my joy.
Job 33:26 (NIV)
then that person can pray to God and find favor with him, they will see God’s face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being.
If change is inevitable, why do we have such a hard time when it happens?
From my childhood recollection, the days were longer; my parents worked for the same company from the day I was born to the day they retired, and our family schedule was so consistent you could set your clock by our routine. But as I age, the days seem shorter, working for one company your whole career is unheard of, and nobody needs a routine because cable television has a convenient feature called DVR.
Consistency is comforting. My cats know when it’s feeding time, my spouse always returns home, and my playlists on my iPod are programmed with my favorite songs. But what happens when there is a shift from the norm?
The Pastor of my church made that shift from the norm. He wasn’t even with us for a full year before he left abruptly about two weeks ago. No good-bye party, no parting gifts, no keeping in touch; just gone from our lives due to personal reasons. We were left cold in our pews with a void in leadership. However, God has blessed my congregational family with a stand-in Pastor who led our congregation less than a year ago. He sympathizes with our heavy hearts. I believe his reassuring words today were Spirit-inspired messages from our God and Father, as they were genuine and comforting.
Change is inevitable. From my Christian perspective, our days are a gift from God, He knows us from before conception to the day we will die. Even Pastors change careers, and routines are hard to keep because the world is forever evolving. The abrupt departure may not make sense to my congregation, but we are pulling together once again because we have faith in the God we serve. He will not leave us nor will he forsake us, He will not leave us orphans as He holds us up with his righteous right hand. God is our comforting consistency.
For the Pastor that left us, the stand-in Pastor that is with us, and the Pastor that is to come, I pray these words from 2 Thessalonians 1:11
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.
“Will you be my Confirmation Sponsor?” asked my nephew/God-son as he held his breath in anticipation of my answer. With no hesitation, “I would be honored! Thank you for considering me!” I said as he let out his breath to replace it with new. Little did he know how I often felt less than adequate in my own spiritual journey, but he chose me out of everyone he knows. I was humbled at being selected for such an important role in a young man’s life.
The Confirmation service included three schools and was held in our city’s Cathedral which was beautifully decorated. The red flowers on the altar symbolized the Holy Spirit’s presence. Based on the time we arrived at church, we were blessed to sit in the front row. I prefer the front or second row in any church as I am easily distracted by these two types of people: someone taller than me or a whiney, wiggle-worm child. From this vantage point, I was able to enjoy the trombones and trumpets, a pianist on a baby-grand, and a beautiful choir from the high school nearby.
During the Bishop’s homily, he directed his message to the confirmands with this message: (paraphrased) “You will grow up to be in the service industry, lawyers, doctors, business owners, accountants, etc., but remember that you are always in the family business. The family business is directed by God and you bring God with you wherever you go.”
I pray that the confirmands understood what the Bishop was saying to them. If they did not grasp the importance of the message, then I believe the message was directed at me as I was reminded of the silent directed retreat I attended in March this year. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my heart that it is time for me to get off the bench and start being God’s first-string player. I know God is all around me, but I keep throwing obstacles in our path, trying to stall what He wants me to do. I don’t understand my reaction, because as it states in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So what am I doing?
In preparation for this confirmation day, my nephew and I spent time together discussing the Holy Spirit and I was reminded of my own confirmation of faith. I remember feeling as if I had a little pilot light turn on inside of me. It has taken me many years to understand that by being a willing servant of God; this little pilot light can start a raging firestorm.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, I am an example to my nephew, family, friends, co-workers and strangers. I am tired of looking for obstacles to throw in God’s way on our path. Will you join me in meditating on what Jeremiah 29:11 means for our lives? After all, we are all in the family business.
It is March 2012 and the temperature outside feels like early summer. This unseasonable warmer weather has forced me to bury my sweaters and exhume short-sleeves, cropped pants and sandals from the depths my closet. In trying on last year’s clothing, I realize middle-age is settling in and some of my favorites do not fit as well as I remember.
I always wished I looked like Barbie™. Her long blonde hair always perfect and her wardrobe enhanced her beauty. Barbie has not been the only image I aspired to imitate, I fell prey to the images in fashion magazines as well. Oh, what perfect skin, hair, makeup and clothing on the models who are airbrushed to perfection.
Then it dawned on me. I am perfect! I am perfect because I am made in the image of God. God did not produce thousands of me, molded in plastic. He made only one of me; I am unique and I am special.
My figure and hair are exactly what God predetermined. I think it would be a sin to have my image airbrushed, as that would take away the details that God intended for all to see. By human judgment, I am not perfect, but that does not matter. What God sees is His perfection.
March 2012 will go down in the history books as a memorable temperature shift. This month will go down in my history as the the time my thoughts shifted from a judgmental worldview to the what matters…I am skillfully and uniquely created by my Father who loves me.