Faithinflipflops

Living simply, loving deeply!

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Weather: The Last Frontier

This Sunday I am preaching on the seasons of life. And how God is faithful in every season. And how we must remain faithful in every season. Even the tough ones. The Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes says,

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”  3:1

My studying led me to pose the question on Facebook about which season do you consider to be the first season. Spring, summer, winter, or fall. I got quite a response. Though the question that I should have asked is “what is your favorite season and why?” And that led me to study the benefits of the four seasons (not to be confused with Frankie Valli and his Four Seasons)….confused yet? Yeah….I thought so. I’m letting you into a rare look on how my brain processes stuff. Not for the faint of heart.

Ha! Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Ha! Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Up here in Northeast Ohio, we have had one of the coldest, snowiest winters  we have seen in a long time. Looking at the 10 day forecast, there doesn’t look to be much of a reprieve on the horizon. We are all hoping that the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow….or is he supposed to see his shadow? I don’t know, I get mixed-up. I’m from a town where a guy predicts our winter by looking at a Woolly bear and his stripes and 100,000 people come to hear him make this prediction. He got it wrong this year. So very wrong. So I’m not putting much stock in the ground-hog either.

In case you wondering...this is a woollybear....

In case you wondering…this is a woollybear….

So while studying today in my office, I read a quote  by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He said, “The best thing one can do when its raining is to let it rain”. Thanks, Henry. Like we can do anything else. I think it was Henry’s way of deluding himself to the fact that he has absolutely no control over whether it rains or not. I also thought of Creedance Clearwater Revival and their deep, probing question in the popular song “Who’ll Stop the Rain?”. In all of our scientific advancement, we cannot control the weather. We can track it, talk about it, fear it, respect it, prepare for it BUT…you can’t stop it from coming. You have no choice but to let it rain or snow or sleet or hail or monsoon or whatever it chooses to do.

The South got hit with snow this week. 2 inches. And it shut them down for a week. Motorists left their cars stranded along the interstate. I heard the Mayor of Atlanta saying it wasn’t his fault, he is only responsible for the roads in Atlanta. I heard the Governor blame someone else. I think I heard the President blame global warming or maybe the republicans. And republicans blaming democrats. The whole world has gone mad! And we are taking it out on each other. I realized today that fear is big motivator. And we fear what we can’t control.

Seasons and the weather make me stand in awe of God. We need the winter to let the ground rest and plants to die so the soil can be nourished for the next season. We need the cold to kill germs. We need the spring rains and hot summer sun.

I love the fact that there are still things in the world that are shrouded in mystery. Things that still capture our imagination. Things that we cannot control. Things that point us to our Creator. Like the weather. It’s powerful and something we cannot control. I’m grateful that there is still something that shows us that we are not as in control as we think we are.

Laying on the frozen Vermilion River!

Laying on the frozen Vermilion River!

Frozen Lake Erie

Frozen Lake Erie

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Sisters

Sisters

One of my goals for the New Year is to combine my love for pictures and my love for writing by posting my favorite picture from the previous week on my blog. The first week of 2014 started and ended with a snow storm. Two of my nieces and I made sure we took time to enjoy the winter wonderland. This picture captures so much!

2014: The Year of Replenishing

The last few weeks of December were very difficult. And it wasn’t just because I struggle with the holidays. It felt like the wheels were coming off of everything in my life. Circumstances led me to complete, overwhelming despair. It felt like I was being attacked on all sides, financially, physically, spiritually, and morally. I didn’t know where to fight first. So I didn’t fight at all.  I would lie in my bed and just sob. I avoided people because I could not keep it together when they would simply ask how I was doing. This is not normal for me. I may have a day or two of being down, but never anything like this. I am a “glass is full” kind of a gal. It was paralyzing. I finally texted and e-mailed a couple of my closest friends to pray for me.

On the spur of the moment, my dear friend and mentor, Harriet, asked me to go to lunch with her right before Christmas. We talked for several hours. As we talked, the clouds began to clear a bit.

Harriet and me at lunch! So love and admire this lady!

Harriet and me at lunch! So love and admire this lady!

I had just come off an amazing Fall. God did some amazing things at our women’s retreat and in our Bible studies. Many women found freedom in Christ. A couple of classes I was involved with at church saw people growing in their faith.  At lunch that day, I was reminded of a quote I heard when I went to Gettysburg  and watched the short movie they show in their visitor center. The movie is entitled A New Birth of Freedom. Morgan Freeman narrates it. He says  “Freedom, like power, will always be contested.” The freedom I had helped others find was being contested in my own life by the enemy of my soul. And as a result, I was tired. A bone-weary, soul crushing tired. And when you’re tired, everything is overwhelming. And it is hard to fight.

There are some big challenges facing me in 2014, (as well as some amazing adventures.)

challenges_ahead

The only way I know how to meet a challenge is to walk right into it. My motto tends to be “the only way around a challenge is through it”.

I usually formulate a plan and execute it.

But I have no plan for the challenges that face me.

I feel powerless. Stripped. Tired.

Last Sunday, we had ministry time during our first service. As I prayed with people, I would pray for their next year. I would pray a word that would capture what God wanted to do in their lives. Today, the word that came to mind for my own life was “replenish”. Jeremiah 31:25 says,

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”

The word replenish means “to fill something up again” “ freshen” “nourish”.

I get so busy helping others nourish their own soul that I tend to neglect my own. 2014 has to be a year in which I make room for God to replenish every area of my life.

As I write this, I can feel a plan beginning to formulate. And hope is rising. May 2014 be a year of replenishing for us all!!!

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