Monday, May 28, 2012

The Mystery of Who He Is

I’m almost done with my novel that I’ve been working on for years. I’m currently finishing up one of many rounds of revisions. It’s “Shack-esque”  (if you’ve ever read The Shack) in that God visits the main character and interacts with her on Earth. I’ve hit a place in the book when God has to leave her and she is heartbroken. My heart and mind have been full of this all day. What would it be like to know God face to face? And then to have Him leave? What does His love look like and who is He really? We know such a small part of who He is, as if a puppy can know everything there is to know about the human who looks after him.  

If God is who He says He is then He is Amazing. Powerful. Beautiful. Loving beyond anything we’ve ever seen or can comprehend. He is the epitome Goodness, Gentleness, Patience and Joy. He is capable of frying me on the spot and loving me to a degree that dwarfs human love and makes it look feeble. Take every good thing that humans are capable of and magnify that 1000 times.

To taste of that and then lose it would be devastating, crushing. Could I even go on? Could I continue to draw breath or would I just curl up in a ball until He came to carry me away?

Do I live every day attempting to more deeply connect with such a being? Do I seek out the mystery of who He is? There is a vast greatness to Him that I do not know. How much am I seeking to know Him more?

I am not despaired over my lack, as I know much more of Him than I did when I was younger. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good for myself. But writing today has reminded me a fresh that I have only scratched the surface. I don’t want to stop pressing forward as if there were nothing more to know in this life.  I see how I have stopped lately as if to say, “I have enjoyed a portion. I have been blessed with all that I can know of Him right now. What more can I know?”  How wrong I am!

There is more to Him than what I know and I would spend this side of heaven in search of Him. And I believe He really likes that. J

Psalm 34:8(NKJV)
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Do You Love a Good Mystery?

There was a mystery at my school today! I had students walking around the building after school, questioning “suspects” aka teachers …….”Where were you at 1:45 today?” How did I inspire such zeal?  I made some cookies mysteriously disappear! We are reading mysteries this month and today while students were deep into Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew I stopped the class. “Has anyone seen the two packages of Oreos that I had in my desk drawer?” All the students knew that these cookies were slated to be served tomorrow in honor of our last state assessment so of course they were alarmed.

A few minutes later the custodian came in and asked me if I’d gotten the coffee mug he’d dropped off at my desk during last recess while I was out at recess duty.  I thanked him and said I had. The minute he left, students (who have clearly watched too much hoodunit TV) immediately said, “Hey, he was here. Maybe he took them!” it was decided that he should be questioned. After the class created a list of questions, we sent two detectives off in search of information. They returned with these facts: Mr. Russell had seen the secretary in the hallway at that time. He did not take the cookies, though Oreos are one of his favorites.

At this point the students were beside themselves with excitement and anticipation. I had a throng of would be detectives begging to get to interrogate the next witness. Notebooks were produced and one student quickly created some spy glasses (while she was supposed to be reading no less.) That led to three children wandering around Sunnyside Elementary looking for clues after school. I do have a series of witnesses lined up for tomorrow who will lead my eager gumshoes to the glorious cookies. Even though they are all pretty sure that I am involved (I was thoroughly questioned) they are still eager to solve the mystery.  They are loving the hunt. This may seem an odd segue, but guess what? God loves a good mystery, too.

One thing I have taken away from my years of Bible reading is that God loves a good mystery. He likes being mysterious and He has no problem revealing partial truths and keeping things vague. To a mere mortal like me it can be extremely irritating! I want clarity! A list of rules. A map. Something.  God wants me to trust Him. Blindly. He wants me to search Him out. He wants me to run around with the same eager zeal of my students, seeking to know the truth of who He is. I had a picture of God today, smiling and totally excited about me seeking Him out. He’s left a series of clues and witnesses for me. He loves it when I love the hunt. Seeing His happiness makes the idea a lot more fun for me, too. Let’s go seeking Him, shall we? I think we will find something better than cookies!!

Proverbs 2:4 (NKJV)
If you seek her (wisdom) as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;

Proverbs 25:2(NKJV)
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Standing in the Storm 2: God Ministers Our of His Goodness

I’m so sorry I've been off line for a couple of weeks. It’s hard to tell with the Internet if anyone even notices. (And I don’t mean that in a self-pitying sort of way. It’s just, when you throw something out to cyberspace you have no idea what’s going on!) If you did miss me, I didn’t mean to let you down. I got sick and it knocked me out for a while. I’m doing better now and I’m back in the game!

Even though I haven’t written in what seems like a very long time, I have continued to think about the last post I wrote. Specifically, I’ve pondered what God spoke to me. It blows my mind. You see, I was on my last leg. I was ready to quit. I’d had it. And because of that I was feeling like a failure and a loser. Weak. Unable to be strong. Clearly not enough. God could have said so many things to me. We can become wrongly convinced of the things we think He’s going to say. He might tell me to repent of my lousy attitude, to quit being a whiner and a wimp. He could tell me to get up off the floor because, after all, I wasn’t exactly carrying a wooden cross and did I have any idea of how hard some people have it in this world?

He didn’t say anything at all like that to me. What did He do instead? He told me I was tough. He told me I was determined and that He was proud of me. He reminded me of who I was. He reminded me of all those years when I’d worked so hard to become strong….and He said, “That’s who you are.”  He put his finger right on the core of who I am and helped me to be that girl. I can’t tell you how encouraging that was to me, how it lifted my spirits and helped me stand tall. He didn’t even mention my quitting, didn’t even talk about it.

My God IS love, joy peace, gentleness….all of the fruits of the spirit. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that He ministers to me out of that love and gentleness, out of the positive nature of goodness and joy.  He is so amazing. We have no idea how awesome he is. We continually assign to Him human attributes that are less than who He is. We expect Him to judge, to be harsh, to condemn, and to shame. But that is not who He is at all.  Dear Lord, help me to grasp the wonderfulness of who you are. I know it’s beyond my comprehension, but I would like to continue to know you better and understand you more. You are precious and beautiful. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Standing in the Storm

I used to be a runner. I’ve said that before I’m sure at least once. Running was such a key part of my identity as a young person, I’ve never really let go of it totally, despite the road my uncooperative muscles have taken me on.  Before my running career met an inglorious end due to muscle trouble, I set records, won races, and took my small state of Idaho by storm (at least in my event).  Thirty years have passed, and often I’ve wondered at the hours and hours I spent on something that lacked any sort of long term benefit. I’ve felt half guilty. I was so obsessed with something that wasn’t eternal! I’ve wondered what God thought about all that time, all those years.

This past week’s been pretty tough. I felt terrible and found out I had two infections. I was grouchy and hard to live with and then felt badly about being such a pain in the you know what, especially to my poor husband. I should have stayed in bed, but it’s really hard to be a teacher and miss school so I just “toughed it out.” However poorly that was done…. The wicked Witch of the West had nothing on me! Then last night I got the worst migraine I’ve ever had (they think spurred on by the medicine I was taking for the infections.)  And I was done. I was curled up on the floor crying my eyes out. I wanted out. I wanted to quit. I wanted to be just plain done with this life. And I kind of couldn’t believe it. After all I’d faced in the last two years, I’m crumpled up and quitting now? 

Today is a better day (thank the good Lord in heaven!) and I’m not on the ledge anymore. I was talking to God about the whole thing and He had something really interesting to say. “Tammy, no matter how hard this life has been for you, you are not a quitter. All those years of running did something in your soul. And you just don’t quit.”  Competitive training is all about discipline. It’s about schooling the body to push in pain. It’s going out to run 7 miles in the midst of a snowstorm or rain. It’s running when everyone else is sleeping in, or pushing one more lap when you don’t think you can go on.  It did help me. I learned to put my head down into the midst of the windstorm and not quit.

My thoughts quickly turned from this towards my two teenage daughters. I so want to protect them. I see their hurts and disappointments and I want to shield them, to make it all better, to pave a lovely path for their lives. But I cannot see the future and don’t know what they need. Or how the fruits of their present challenges and life experiences might actually help them. But God knows. He sees. He watched that skinny girl step out into the rain to pound out those miles all alone and saw a different day when she would need to know how to push on.  

We never know how God is preparing us for the roads we walk.  But we can trust Him because He is faithful and good.   

Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.