Friday, December 25, 2015

"By George I Think I've Got It"

Have you ever had a moment when you just felt nothing?  I mean your thoughts are blank, you are alone and all is quiet.  Even deep within the core of who you are you feel nothing.  This morning was just that for me.  While most people woke up to the sounds of Christmas I woke up to quiet. Not a single sound surrounded me.  I attempted to try and fill the void by think about something other than nothing.  Initially I was a bit annoyed.  I found myself searching for a thought, any thought.  I wanted so desperately to have a "by George I think I've got it" moment. I picked up a few books and flipped through the pages in hopes of finding something.  When that failed  I went on to Facebook to see what was going on in the world on Christmas morning for some inspiration.  Made a few "Merry Christmas" calls but no one answered (with the exception of Alyssa. She answered).  And sent a couple of text messages.  I even cleaned a little.  

Instead of a loud thought God had a very precious gift for me on this quiet Christmas day. He needed me to be still in order to receive His gift.  And once I stopped trying to fill the void He placed this stocking on my lap. He had me just where He wanted me, in the stillness of this day. There were no distractions, no places to go and no one around to interrupt our time together. So, I decided to sit peacefully in the palm of my Savior hand.  I eventually pulled from my stocking the gift of peace and tranquility. And for a few hours I just enjoyed the silence and the sweetest time with Him.   But I was still kind of hoping that there was an "aha  moment" under the tree.  I just didn't find or feel it for that matter.  At least that's what I initially thought.   

One by one, as the morning progressed, thoughts began to fill my head.  And the Martha in me gradually returned. I made some coffee and breakfast.  And began gathering the ingredients for my contribution to Christmas dinner.  Finished up some touches on a gift to be delivered later today.  And now, here I sit. Blogging.  And to be honest I wasn't sure a thought was ever going to come to my head to blog about.  But here it goes.  My blog about how God turned my nothing into an abundance of something.  

The past few weeks have been full of running around and searching for the perfect gifts.  I had been under the weather for weeks and truly wasn't feeling in the Christmas spirit.  I went to the mall a handful of times and left empty handed a majority of those time because I couldn't come up with an idea.  I had absolutely no idea what I was going to get for the precious people in my life.  And, much like this morning, my thoughts were blank. I remember walking through Macy's and praying that the Holy Spirit would give me the strength to get through this spree without passing out.  And that I would be successful in purchasing at least something.  He came through.  I was able to get sweaters for all the men. And a few additional little treasures.  And I didn't pass out. There was still more to get done.  Even though I never did get a handle on gift giving ideas somehow I managed to get things done.  My husband was a great help!  He gave me some direction.  I am so blessed.  

Often we go through the holiday season feeling the need to give, give and give some more. We get sucked into the idea that the more things we give the more we show our love.  We spend more money than we should, frantically searching for that perfect gift that would or could reflect just how much we love our loves.  But wait!  We got it all wrong.  Year after year falling into the same trap as the year before.  We use things as a way to gage ones love for another.  You see as I walked from store to store to store I couldn't find a single thing that would or could reflect just how much I love any individual on my gift list.  Yes, there were items that might prompt a smile.  But there wasn't a single purchasable gift that would show the magnitude of my love.  

However, this morning, as I silently sat with my Lord and Savior there was a gentle whisper.  A faint little reminder of the best gift I could ever give to the ones I love. It was my "aha" gift that I was searching so desperately for.  I was so caught up in finding the perfect gift, the perfect words to share today, that I couldn't see or hear what was right in front of me.  God purposely blessed my morning with peace and tranquility because He knew I needed to be still.  And He also made me and knows stillness is often difficult for me.  In order for me to receive the perfect gift I needed to sit with peace in my heart first.  And then He whispered, "You've lost sight of what is needed.  Trust in Me.  For I have already given all of you the most precious gift of all, Salvation.  And in your stocking I have placed peace, tranquility, wisdom and faith.  Everyday for the rest of your life I will give you a fresh fill of grace.  These gifts you need to share on a continual basis.  They are tools to show the reflection of the greatest love.  Remember the best gift is free and will cost you nothing. I loved the world so much that I gave you my one and only Son. He came into this world to carry not just your sins but all mankind's sins and transgressions. He is Immanuel, the Prince of Peace.  And this day, Christmas Day, is the day that was designated for all to take a moment to reflect on this gift."  The Lord sweetly and gently reminded me that it's not the presents but His presence that is the greatest gift.    

I pray that you are all feeling the blessings of this day.  May your hearts be overflowing with peace, grace and love.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  ~Romans 15:13

Merry Christmas

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Congested with His Grace and Love

Sometimes life goes the way we orchestrate it and sometimes it goes from being a sweet melody to a loud drum solo.  Do you remember Animal from The Muppets? Well these past two weeks were more like one of his drum solos. Out of control!

Two weeks ago, on Sunday, was the most normal day I can remember up until today.  I woke up had my coffee and began the day.  I knew that I would be going to work after church so I got a head start on dinner.  I love the crock pot.  Stew was on and I was on my way out the door.  Service was beautiful.  And work was nuts.  I got home well after 5pm and the family was already there hungry for the crock pot feast.  We ate and watched football and a little comedy on t.v..  I was tired early so once everyone was gone I settled down for the night.  Monday morning arrived and I woke up feeling a little "under the weather".  As the week progressed my head got more and more congested. And the drum solo began.

The first few days I woke up at my normal 3am every morning and prayed and feasted on God's word.  I always know when He has a message for me. He has a soft whisper as He gently awakens me and draws me to His feet. I found myself praying for wisdom, abundant grace and clarity.   As I began to prayed for wisdom God directed me to the book of Romans.  I felt my heart skip a beat.  There have been multiple times throughout my life that God has used this book as an instruction manual to guide me through a phase in my life.  He faithfully placed His word on my heart.  I grabbed my Kindle and dimmed the screen, pulled the covers over my head and read.  Feeling filled with grace I would start each new.  And by the end of the day I felt depleted and defeated.  I lost my temper on the phone with my west coast kid. Felt grumpy because my head was overwhelmed with nonsensical stuff.  And wasn't feeling all that joyful, wise or clear.

With each passing day I felt sicker than the day before.  As another work week was coming to and end I dreamed of on a quiet Saturday morning of sleeping in late. And I would eventually get up to start my cleaning, cooking and blogging.  Instead I woke up with a new symptom to add to the sore throat and headache. The stomach decided to join the band. So I laid on the couch.  And periodically got up and did a chore or two.  Greg worked in the morning and I knew I had to prepare for the sweet adventures of our day.  God has an amazing way of giving me just what when I need it.  And sometimes I think He thinks too much of me. Greg and I went out to seek an adventure.  We hadn't seen each other all week due to our conflicting work schedules. We tried to look for a Christmas Tree. I was a mess, grumpy and exhausted.  The "drums" were playing so loud in my head I couldn't even think.  I had been restless and coughing so much that I was getting on my own nerves.  So we headed to the pharmacy in search of a remedy for my illness and picked up every product that I could think of to clear my head.  And back to the couch we went.

Sunday morning arrived and I was feeling more horrible than ever.  I prayed for healing.  And felt compelled to go to urgent care.  I went got treated and headed back home to the couch.  Greg was working another 18 hour shift.  He called the kids and said, "No Sunday dinner tonight."  And I made myself chicken soup. And just rested.

 As I laid there on the couch I realized that I had been such a brat.  I asked to be filled with grace and God gave it to me.  And because I felt ill I neglected to share His overflowing grace with those around me.  I was short tempered all week and a bit self centered.  So, I knew where I needed to go.  It was time for me to sit in the palm of God's hand.  And for a little while I sat there comfortably and read some verses in Romans.  And as usual there He was. Comforting this brat.  Yes, God met me on the couch and comforted me.  You see He knew I need down time.  And I won't ever voluntarily take it.  So, there I was and He said, "Kathleen, you know that in all things I work for the good of those who love me.  And you may not fully understand why I have slowed you down.  But I do have a purpose." As I blew my nose and leaned over the sink, to administer the neti pot, I said, "Lord I will praise you in this "storm".  The "drums" have been so loud that my thought are hard to process.  I want to be congested with your grace and love.  I pray that you give me wisdom."  And once again I laid down for rest.

Another week passed by and the treatment that I had been prescribed at urgent care seemed to not be working.  After being prompted by some of the most caring and loving co-workers, I called my family doctor for an appointment.  I am not a fan of going to the doctor EVER.  But I know that my body is a temple.  And in order for me to faithfully be able to do what God has planned I need to get healthy.  God is merciful! And we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him. And once we are in the right frame of mind, body and health we are truly able to worship Him. I pray that when I get to this appointment that God will bless Dr. Paul with wisdom.  And that He would give me the grace I need to not be an impatient patient.

God has great plans.  And His promises are true.  My prayer for each of you this wee is that you will be filled abundantly with God's amazing grace.  And if you too are feeling "under the weather" that you feel God's healing hand upon you.  If your head is congested with the things of this world I suggest you take a journey on the Romans road.  Or perhaps you need to just take a moment and sit in the palm of His hand.