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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Holding me up

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A couple weeks ago, I ran across this tidbit in the Old Testament.  (Exodus 17:9-13)

Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” 10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
hands up
I have been surprised this year how much I have gotten out of the Old Testament.  Jesus and the New Testament offer grace, redemption, and love, but we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I love how the Old Testament leads up to the New–how God chooses unlikely characters and works their will and choices together into a tapestry of eventual redemption and hope.

Even though I’m on my third time through the Bible, I’m surprised that I didn’t remember the passage above.  I remembered that Moses did some awesome stuff with his staff, but the idea that Joshua could only win the battle when Moses’ hands were up?!  That’s odd!  It’s worth a little contemplation.

Can you imagine how Moses felt when he realized that the outcome of the battle he was watching depended on the position of his spectator arms?  Can you imagine this scenario with yourself and your favorite boxer or sports team?  How would you do?

God was asking something impossible of Moses’ humanity.  Moses could not do it by himself.  In previous vignettes, we see God’s power flow directly through the staff, but this time God sends power through others.  God sends  power through friends.

Isn’t it wonderful not to have to go through this life alone?  God is with us.  Sometimes when I can’t feel God enough, God sends his strength and hope through the ones who walk beside me.  I feel them lift my arms up when I can’t do it myself.  I hear their words when I am filled with doubt.  Later, I see the hands of God holding them so they can hold me.  I am so thankful for the people who hold my arms up, and I look forward to the opportunity to return God’s favor.

Nanny Wins a Rainy Day

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Today it is raining sideways north of Atlanta.

There is a little golf tournament in Birthtown that doubled up Sunday play so that the champion would be chosen in time.

The weather pros have been talking about this storm for a couple of days, so last night I planned to do a little “skip day” for church.  Until…..

Until Hubs asked, “What would Nanny do?”

Convicted.

I delivered Nanny’s eulogy a little over a month ago.  I told an anecdote about Nanny never allowing weather (good or bad) keep my brother and I (and previously my Mom and Uncle) from church.  She would say, “The devil tries to tempt us into staying home, but we won’t let him win!”  

I’m not into “devil” theology, but we all know evil exists everywhere.  I also know that I miss my Nanny very very very much.  I couldn’t let the “devil” win today–especially after the beauty of Hubs remembering a line in my eulogy and calling me out so definitively.

After driving in pouring rain and trudging through what Pa would call a gully-washer, I arrived in the sanctuary for some of the most moving words I have ever heard.  Don’t we all wonder why bad things happen to good people?  If God is good, why is X, Y, Z in the world?

I am so grateful.  I know Nanny meant for me to hear these words, and I would not have heard them on my own volition.  I bet you will feel her smiling on you from heaven if you take twenty minutes and listen too.  You don’t have to believe everything to believe something.  Humor us (Nanny and I) and play it in the background while you do laundry, cook, or complete some other chore–and “don’t let the devil win.”

http://northpoint.org/messages/bystander/coexistence/

 

Lent-deption

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So, I have basically been a Lent action dropout.  I have gone MIA, and I have not kept up the 40 day challenge end of the deal.  Was it really a deal?  It was more of a drawing near to God for God’s whisper, guidance–a drawing near to God to express my gratitude and spend more time with God.

When Nanny died, my writing went off the rails, and Lenten blogs became a eulogy and a perfectly crafted obituary.  On top of that, my scripture reading after tucking little one into bed slipped away, and I’m adrift again.  I’m asking for God’s guidance and wanting to do God’s will, but I am not going to God’s feet to hear it.  My One Year Bible will end in June or July when it was supposed to end in April.  You finish when you finish–do you not?  (I still believe God is lining up amazing “God wink” coincidences for the home stretch for this, my third read of the Bible.)

One thing I am thankful for is the kid’s Bible devotion I requested for Little One for Christmas.  She is so insistent on reading it, that, if all else fails, I’m at least getting a kids’ devotion.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I may be eating like someone stuck in a Seven Eleven, but at least I am taking this here multivitamin!  Ha ha.

I’ve been shocked how revisiting things meant for children can be gloriously profound.  The kids’ devotions have been–along with my ongoing re-exploration and contemplation of the “time quintet” by Madeline L’Engle.  The beauty of my God is that my God reaches out to me in simple words aimed at children.  It reminds me that God’s will, grace, love, and story of redemption are painfully simple.  That’s exactly it–painfully simple.  So simple it’s hard.  So simple it’s confusing.  It doesn’t have to be.  Jesus said “let the children come to me.”  Aren’t we all children in God’s eyes anyway?  Eternally children, doing what kids do?  Experimenting, learning, NOT LISTENING, frustrating our parents?  Whoops!  I digress.

I caught myself listening to a talk at church a few weeks ago in which the pastor talked about how we make demands of God instead of doing what God had planned/intended of us–which is to God’s glory, and our personal benefit.  It reminded me so much of one of my parenting phrases.  When my daughter gets an attitude that lacks respect, I ask her, “Is that a question or a demand?”  I will instruct her to conduct herself like a Jeopardy contestant and put her answer in the form of a question. If I’ve truly surrendered my will to God, shouldn’t I do the same?  Shouldn’t I be asking rather than telling?  Touche.

Let me drive because I know what’s best for you, okay???  (Says me to my daughter–says God to me!)  You should have seen my child’s face when I told her that the Pastor told the grown ups to use questions rather than demands.  She LIT all the way UP.

So, I didn’t achieve 40 days of blogging, but God used my insistent strong-willed daughter to plug me in to her kiddie devotions even when I lacked enough self-control to go to God’s feet and entreat my source.  I am back, I want to do better, and Thank God that we are invited back to start over without counting it against us.  Thank God the Shepherd didn’t scold the sheep that got lost, he welcomed it back and threw a celebration.