Shelter Safe

Our church has some amazingly talented people, especially in music.  Last week as this song was sung and the words flowed through my heart, I did stand in awe.  It is based on Psalms 46, and says:

You’ve been our home, You’ve been our shelter safe
For young and old.  For generations past.
We stand in awe, Of a God so great.
We stand in thanks, Of your faithfulness.
Oh Lord, you’ve been our dwelling place.

my aunt, JoAnn

I’ve heard it many times, but I needed the reminder that the things that I’m battling, the issues my family is dealing with and our friends are hurting over, that those are not new.  30 years ago, my grandmother had already seen heartbreak and loss greater than I’ve been able to imagine.  My God is the same God who watched over her and the same God she worships today in heaven.

He was shelter for my parents through losses that included my Mom’s sister and my Dad’s twin brother, both as teenagers. Even when they didn’t want the comfort or couldn’t see it.   

I hurt for friends who hurt today, I ache over my own tired and worn out spirit, and I can so easily get self focused on that.  But my pains and struggles are no greater than those before me, and I think to the end of my Grandmother’s life and the fact that after all of that, she still knew the true joy and peace that knowing Him brings.  God was her shelter and will be mine.

My own family legacy of losing those we love at a young age can sometimes grip my heart with fear for the future, and for what my boys’ will need shelter from.  But I read those words and know that God will protect them and be their home, just as he was for generations of our family.   

What are you facing?  I encourage you to look for comfort in the shelter of Him.  

Solution vs. Mixture

Last night Drew was telling me about what he’s been learning in school, in his new favorite subject, science.  I loved the enthusiasm in his voice, as he asked if I knew the difference between a mixture and a solution.  He started to tell me, but thought that a much better idea was to make an example of each at home, so he could do more than just tell us, but could show us.  I thought maybe they had been doing experiments in class to help them fully grasp it, but that wasn’t the case, he just wanted to demonstrate it to us in a fun way.  Great idea!

He pulled out the chocolate powder and the milk, and began to stir them together, explaining that as the powder dissolves into the milk, they become one and can’t be separated back out.

He then took a few crackers and a chip and put them together, explaining that this was a mixture because they each maintained their identity and could be separated out again.

I started thinking about how a) smart my child is and b) how cool it is when the relationships we have are solutions, not mixtures.  Real relationships are those where you can’t just separate the people, but where lives have come together as a solution.  The best parts of each are combined, and together you can be better than you were apart. 

Sometimes can certainly be more than just people also.  A mixture involving you and God has little power.  A solution where God can no longer be separated from you, where He is a part of you, that has power. 

I’m so thankful for people in my life who love me enough to be part of my solution, and a God who loves me to be a main ingredient that holds the solution together.  And for a child who is excited about learning and sharing and is demonstrated true solutions daily through people who love him.

Like a Ball in a Bowl

I’ve spent the past two days learning about writing requirements documents, a task that is almost as interesting to me as watching paint dry (though necessary and the training was very beneficial).  But there is one thing that jumped out to me more than anything, something I wanted to share.

The trainer ( to give appropriate credit) used an illustration like this.  He said that people are like a ball in a bowl, and stressful situations are like pulling that ball up the side.  When you let it go, the ball rolls all around in erratic directions before coming to rest.  And people are like that ball, always seeking to come back to rest.

I thought that was a pretty good illustration of what happens.  I honestly I consider myself a good gauge, as stressful situations and I seem to find each other regularly.

But as I thought through this more, I realized that he missed something.  He used the mind of a mathematician to formulate this.  But what he missed is the human element of how that ball can behave less erratic, how it can come to rest sooner.

If you were to line that ball with something, the ball would slow sooner.  Depending on what you line it with, the results can vary.  Line it with felt and you have some impact, line it with thick cotton gauze and you have even more.

Our lives are like that.  We all get taken to stressful heights of our bowl.  Some events cause drop us from just a small height to recover from.  Some drops are so far that the time to return to a calm state is much longer and much more erratic.

But if you line your life, you will recover quicker and with a less erratic path than you would otherwise.  But what you line it with determines how much so.  Line it with friends?  Definitely helps decrease your time back to that state of rest.  Line it with friends and love?  Even more so.  Line it with all of those and faith in a loving God?  Now you’ve got a bowl, or a life, that can withstand even the worst.

The drop will still hurt, but is so much better with a lined life.

I Refuse

I just heard a song that talks about refusing to ignore what God has called us to do. I’m constantly amazed by people around us who have refused to allow us or other families of missing to face this alone. They’ve refused to allow excuses, troubles, or naysayers get them off their path. They’ve refused to ignore the need they see around them.

I’m refusing to allow circumstances to keep me from telling our story, from sharing the message of hope that I have. Just needed the reminder, and it came in this perfect way.

What are you being called to do? It may be a small thing or may be huge, but we all should refuse to be so focused on ourselves that we can’t see the needs around us. Maybe you needed the reminder too, if so the lyrics below may help.

I Refuse lyrics
Songwriters: Benjamin Glover;Joshua David Wilson

Sometimes I
I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone’s alright
When I know they’re not

This world needs God
But it’s easier to stand and watch
I could say a prayer and just move on
Like nothing’s wrong

But I refuse
‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care
I don’t want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of You, oh God

So, if You say move
It’s time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do
Show them who You are

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care
I don’t want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

To stand and watch the weary and lost
Cry out for help
I refuse to turn my back
And try and act like all is well

I refuse to stay unchanged
To wait another day, to die to myself
I refuse to make one more excuse

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care
I don’t want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

I refuse
I refuse

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