Sunday, June 27, 2010

Walking Looking Up

As a kid, I used to love playing neighborhood hide-and-seek right before night fall. We would define where we could hide and what was out of limits and then 15-20 of us neighborhood kids would take off running to find the perfect spot. My favorite place to hide was way up in a butterfly bush, except of course in the summer when it was full of bees and not butterflies. From that vantage spot, I could watch everyone scurrying around as whoever was "It" would search in each bush and behind fences. I very seldom was "It" - I usually was not found.

Here lately, I feel like I have been tagged and am now "It". So many things have been brushing around the periphery of my life and I feel like the kids I watched from my vantage point - trying to catch the next "It" but brushing instead the air where they just were.

As many of my close friends know, I have been having some health challenges. For years, I have been having stomach problems and have worried over some symptoms - namely, bleeding. At Easter, I had a very bad "bunch" of symptoms that left me exhausted and mentally and emotionally reeling. Went to go see the Dr. and that brings us to here. Testing has begun to check and see what is going on. Old fears come creeping back in and are faced with every test.

Lately, I have not had any symptoms. Occasional rumbly tummy, but not any bleeding. I caught on to that and held the evidence of the lack of one symptom as proof of God's healing. The edges of fear would sometimes creep in, but as long as I "hid" from any questions or concerns, they were held at bay. Last night, I started bleeding again. I could feel faith starting to crumble as I faced fear once again.

This morning in church as I stood praising God, I came face to face with Him. My heart was achy. Beyond all else, I sang knowing this - He is good no matter what. An alter call to the front for healing and restoration came forth and I was out of my seat. The prayer was simply, "restore Terri, heal her mind so that she can hear from You."

As I went back to my seat, tears streaming down my cheeks, I once again raised my hands to God and thanked Him. As I stood, the memory of blood on white paper tore at my heart and I felt me moving away from the peace I had just held.

Then I remembered the story of the Israelite army facing an army bigger than what they could even survive and the admonition from God's prophet, Elisha - "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." (2 Kings 6:16). The words, "do not walk by sight but by faith" resonated in my spirit. There is more going on than what I can see and I should not rely on my senses to discern God's work.

I was willing to let the evidence of one thing undermine what God is doing in my life. It is hard to walk by Faith. I am so used to living a "seeing is believing" lifestyle that it is hard to fathom anything else. I want to see the army of God camped around me, to see Jesus in the empty tomb, to hear God's whisper in the midst of the storm. The world we live in wants to tear at the fabric of faith and do something about it in our strength. That is not my calling.

This I know, God is good. Whether I have cancer (there, I said it), or some other ailment, God is good. He loves me. I know that worrying about results and test will not make me better faster or even ever. Saying, "me do it", will not make anything happen. My heavenly Father stands with open arms and says, "give it to me, keep your eyes on me, think on me and nothing else." Walk by Faith, not by sight.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sausage Ain't My Life

The other day I spotted a billboard on Interstate 10 near the TC Jester exit. The words on it were not shocking or hilarious or offensive. They were advertising sausage created by a former Houston Oilers football player. The advertisement simply said, "Sausage is my life!"

I shook my head as I contemplated a life surrounding sausage of all things. Can you imagine getting to the end of your days and saying, "I lived for sausage". What a narrow life in deed. I chuckled to myself as I patted me on the back at avoiding THAT kind of passion.

Then this question came into my mind, "What are some things you have placed in your life as first?" Conviction came on and now required a response.

I realized that at times in my life, I too had stated a passion for this or a life long pursuit of that. I have pursued a career, raising children, my husband. Sometimes, the very things I pursued got in the way of people I love, relationships with friends. All are good things but not the one item set before me as the BEST thing. Pursuing Jesus and the better life He has for me.

There are many verses that come to mind at this time I could illustrate quite vividly my wrong choices. The thing is I know what I am supposed to do and find myself so many times veering off in a direction opposite of where I needed to go and walking after my wants instead. I then come to a point and am convicted and redirect on a path pursuing my heavenly Father.

Thankfully there is grace, and abundant yet.

Proverbs 14:12 eloquently states the results of our choices: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. The solution is found in Matthew 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

So the truth of the matter is this: pursuing God with a passion of loving Him beyond all else will put everything else into its proper place. Your spouse, your children, your career, your friends...maybe even a pursuit to create the perfect sausage (said with tongue in cheek).

Applying this to me. It is a DAILY pursuit. I keep having to remind myself of that and extend personal grace to me when I fail. Daily I choose to pursue my Savior my King. Daily I have to lay down the things that I have a tendency to want to lift up. Daily I have to realize that only through Jesus can I have the strength to do this.

My prayer is simply this, "Jesus You are King. Let my life be a reflection of You so that You get the glory." Amen