Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Always watching...always thanking.

"Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God." Colossians 4:2

This past weekend was full of friends and laughter...okay, and maybe a few tears because of an emotional movie choice. :)  It was the kind of weekend that exhausts you in the best way possible and causes you to sit back and reflect on the goodness of the gifts that God has given you in the people He puts in your path.  I am not so far removed from the "alone-ness" that can come after a major move that I can let such a weekend pass without acknowledging the blessing of being surrounded by friends.  My prayer is that I would continue to be sensitive to the work that God is doing in and around me, even as the newness here continues to fade and my life becomes increasingly full of the normal, everyday things that come with beginning to feel established somewhere. 

"I will remember your great deeds, Lord; I will recall the wonders you did in the past." Psalm 77:11

Around this time last year, I remember feeling like everything here took effort.  It was an effort that I wanted to make and most days enjoyed, yet still I longed for the comfort of the old as I lived in expectation that there would come a day when the "new" wouldn't wear me out so much.  Last fall there were days when my favorite thing to do would be to just stay at home all day while the kids were in school.  It didn't matter what I was doing, I simply found joy in being somewhere in which I didn't have to introduce myself or feel like I was always needing to figure out something new.  I think those days were good for me.  Being the new person can be exhausting and I felt refreshed by being around what was familiar and required little effort, even if for just short periods of time.  Just to be clear, if I had followed that inclination every day, I wholeheartedly believe I would have missed out on a majority of the blessings surrounding me today.  :)  I was alert then in my expectation for God to reveal Himself to me in a new way, and I am thankful today for the reminder in Colossians 4:2 to "continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God."  For me, one of the benefits in having to start over in a new place has been the extra sensitivity to what God was doing or going to do because I was looking for it.  I was more aware because, quite frankly, my life wasn't too full of activity to notice even the smaller meaningful things that were happening around me everyday.  It's important to me that I not lose that perspective...that expectation for God to show up in the midst of the ordinary and do something extraordinary, to take notice of it when He does, and to bring Him glory by sharing what He has done and what He is capable of.

"I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.  For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth." Psalm 57:9-11

I've been struck by my busyness lately and how quickly it can sneak up on me and leave me with no time to consider what it is that God would have me notice.  Today is a day in which I'm simply enjoying time at home, not as I did a year ago to hide-out in a sense, but to take the time to be still and allow my mind the space to wrap itself around the extent of what God is doing.  Too often, in the busyness of the everyday, I see life as a random string of events being pulled quickly past me as I try my best to just simply keep up.  When in fact those events are intricately, and purposefully woven together with glimpses of the hand of God at work if I will just take the time to notice.  There have been numerous occasions in the past that I have let an event or circumstance pass me by, whether joyful or frustrating, because I was too busy to glean from it the lesson being given.  One thing that this past year with our move has taught me is that being alert and watchful, living in expectation is how I should approach each day...not just after a move when I am waiting for God to fill the "empty spaces", but also when I've been connected to a place for many years and am tempted to allow myself to grow dull to what it is that God is accomplishing around me, what He's teaching me and how He's blessing me amidst the joys and struggles of everyday life.  The title verse that I chose for this blog is as applicable to my life today as it was over a year ago when I first began to journal my way through our family's "roadway in the wilderness"...

"Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

My prayer is that I will never get so distracted by the busyness of the everyday that I begin to look at life as a series of meaningless events - some good, some bad - that are all just bringing me closer to an end that is just as purposeless and meaningless.  We have been created with great design and purpose, life is meant for much more than going through the motions.  I pray it is this truth that shines through my inadequate words on this page.   

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:18


"But because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:4-10

As I was driving the other day, the lyrics to a song by Natalie Grant put a smile on my face as I reflected upon the beauty of a moment when the thoughts on my heart are reflected in the words of another and put to song.   May the "Greatness Of Our God" be what you watch and wait for.

Greatness Of Our God
by: Natalie Grant

Give me eyes to see more of who you are.
May what I behold still my anxious heart.
Take what I have known and break it all apart.
For you my God are greater still.

And no sky contains no doubt restrains all you are
the greatness of our God
I'll spend my life to know and I'm far from close to all you are
the greatness of our God.

Give me grace to see beyond this moment here.
To believe that there is nothing left to fear.
That you alone are high above it all.
And you my God are greater still.

And there is nothing that could ever separate us,
No, there is nothing that could ever separate us from your love.
No life, no death,
of this I am convinced,
You my God are greater still.

 (Tailgating this past weekend @ LU w/ many of the blessings God gave us this year) :)