I am the kind of person who likes the evaluation time at our staff meetings. I enjoy improving things. It is just a part of me — wanting to edit and make things a little better or attempting to repeat what has gone well. I use to think this was an odd characteristic of mine — liking evaluation; but now I realize it can actually be a helpful tool for myself. When I look back, I can find blessings, lessons and scads of things to be thankful for. My heart needs expansion in the gratitude and thankfulness compartment. I think we all want to be thankful people. Who has the goal of being a complainer, whiner, or perpetual pessimist?
At the same time, I do appreciate “real” and “depth” in people — the ability to see reality for what it is, but to walk in faith, trusting God in the midst of it. When I do take the time to look back, I often can see things a little more clearly. It is no different for me as I come to the end of the summer; I want to go back and discover what really happened– seeing what gems I can discover. What am I thankful for? Where was there growth? How have I seen God’s blessings?
How have I been blessed this summer?
I think about…
Hanging out with Evan, tilting our heads way back to see the top of the inside of the capital of Texas.
or the incredible colors of summer
and a cool rain in July!
There is 21 years of marriage!
connecting with my oldest son and watching him race before he heads off to college…
…and the staff and interns I have the privilege of, not only working with, but walking around campus and praying together.
We look back and see God. Where have you seen God’s hand this summer? Take time to discover— the obvious and not so obvious….
Disruptions as blessings?
It is easy to find the blessings in the beauty of a sunrise, in the midst of relaxing time off, or in the discovery of extra money when things are looking sparse; but what about blessings in the disruptions of life? While I do like to bring change and make things better, I am also the kind of person who doesn’t like a disruption in my plans. It can be difficult for me to be flexible and change my direction– especially when (from my perspective) the disruption is taking me off course.
This summer, there were some disruptions (not huge things) and inconveniences I would not have planned. There was the disappointment of having to say, “no” to something I really wanted to do, the feeling of being taxed with responsibilities while my husband was away for a month, or the experience of having too many tasks before me. Everything during the last two weeks has been an “A” in priority. My schedule has felt beyond me or the hours allotted for a day. Is there blessing in the mundane, crazy, and busyness of life? Isn’t a “blessing” suppose to make me happy?
Surprised by Pepper
At first glance, this may seem unrelated — but two weeks ago for my youngest son’s ninth birthday, we decided to give him a border collie. Being the youngest (and the youngest of four boys) it is probably easy for him to feel like the smallest (well, he actually is), to feel overlooked when others get to do “bigger” things. Some of my other boys have really wanted a dog, but during our 21 years of marriage, we managed to avoid it. We did not want the — “potty training,” barking, expenses, and the question of what to do with a dog when we travel so much. However, Evan loves animals and usually stops for any waggly-tailed dog or cute little bunny in our neighborhood.
Quickly, I found delight in the delight in my son, the wagging of the tail and the way she nuzzles and rests her nose on my knee. Her ability to follow commands and her intensity in chasing a ball is fascinating. Nevertheless, a new dog, no matter how old, is work. She has disrupted our life with the additional work and care she needs. In the process she has slowed me down as I take the time to walk her and care for her in the busyness of my life. I find myself taking time with both she and my boys together — connecting me with my sons as we learn how to train and care for her. She is occupying my boys during the last days before school starts. Pepper has disrupted our home! Yes, there are inconveniences, but blessings often come through disruptions. I avoid disruptions. I want easy. I want convenience. But these things are not usually the paths to true blessing. Pepper is a disruption, but a reminder that God usually works through the disruptions of life.
Disrupted by “Baby Doe”
My friend just began fostering a few day-old-infant. They were in the middle of a house remodel with an incomplete kitchen waiting for the installation of the floors, when the call came. What do we call things that ask too much of us, and tug at us at the most inconvenient of times? We call them “disruptions.” To see this tiny thing held, fed and form attachment in his first days — blesses everyone involved. The family has welcomed this “disruption.” This baby is not an inconvenience, but a gift. His little life gives everyone around him life. He doesn’t do much right now, as he seems just sits in my friend’s arms, but he is changing those around him and all who interact with him as he sleeps. His work is a quiet work of God.
Seeing the Disruption as a possible blessing
What is a disruption you are facing right now? Those around you may tempt you to escape from it, or give into your feelings of the need for relief. We are naturally good at avoiding disruptions. There will be disruptions as you start the new school year. You may not get the class or job you would like. Money may grow thin and you are tempted to doubt or question. God will put a person in your life, or an impossible schedule or task before you. I imagine the purpose in any of those things is for blessing and life– to making Christ known even in the busiest of lives.
Often the richest and most significant things in our lives come when we find we are at the end of our self– and we need God, who supplies the impossible and works in and beyond us. I am reminded of Moses in the desert, Jonah in the whale, and Peter sitting in a boat — all faced with major disruptions as they were living their ordinary lives. Yet, this disruption was so others could have blessing and life.
It is often when I come to the end of “myself,” or to the end of “my path” that I find blessings. I skirt around inconveniences, disruptions or paths of sorrow. Jesus said, though, that true life is only found through death– as we lose ourself we encounter death. In this, I find God’s hand and blessing. I need to speak also of these blessings as I look back, and remember I am blessed when I am at the end of myself — finding life and true joy through the disruptions of life.