My Prayer

     This time of year is so magical and so overwhelming at the same time.  I love the widespread Christmas spirit yet I’m also strangely burdened by it.  I find myself often feeling torn between 2 extremes … I want to find the perfect gift for everyone on my list but the finances required are overwhelming.  I want to attend every party and event, but it takes a toll on our young family.  I want to… but….

Does anyone relate?

 

Thank God for His Word!
Psalm 119:36-37 has become my meditating thought these days:

“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! 

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”

 

I hate to admit it but my days are often spent in pursuit of selfish gain and worthless things.  And the list can be long this time of year… a well decorated house, a yummy Holiday dinner, the perfect Christmas card, and on and on.  As I feel the weight of those worthless things bearing down on me, God reminds me of this verse.  Oh how I want Him to incline my heart to His testimonies!  May I not be too busy to see His work all around me… in the hearts of my kids, in the love of friends and strangers, in the beautiful families on those Christmas cards we receive.  Oh Lord, turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things that crush the life out of me.  Your ways give life.  Thank you Lord!

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Coincidences

Yesterday at church, our pastor taught on the book of Esther and all the “coincidences” in the book.  There is such an intricate series of events that happen for Esther to become Queen and thus save the Jewish people from destruction.  All of it points to the hand of God, even though He is never even named in the book.  It got me thinking about all the “coincidences” in my life – events that seem random at the time but were actually God moving in me and around me.

I met my husband, Andrew, when I was 14.  We were both singers and in a school of 3000 kids, we got introduced by our choir teacher.  We were pretty immediately smitten and spent most of our high school days very happily together.  He was a year older than me in school and as he went off to college, I decided (in my immaturity and stupidity) that we needed a break, so that’s what we did.  He told me that he still loved me and that we would never be just friends.  If we were going to talk, we would be together..so we did not even talk for the following year and a half.  During that time, I went off to school at Auburn.  I dated another guy and that relationship turned out to be toxic.  When we broke up, I was fairly certain that I never wanted to date again.  That same year, I was asked to be the girl worship leader at a 3 week Campus Crusade Summer Project.  The guy worship leader would be from Ole Miss and the rest of the team would be from other schools around the SEC.  I agreed and went to the Project a week early for rehearsals.  Unbeknownst to me, the guy worship leader was Andrew!  What a coincidence!    For 4 weeks of that summer, we worked closely on worship, and discovered that our hearts were still knit together.  We didn’t get back together as a couple for several more months but there was no denying God’s hand in reuniting us that summer.  We’ve never been apart since.

What if we didn’t both sing in High School?  And if I hadn’t known him before my toxic relationship, I’m pretty sure I’d still be single from swearing off dating forever!  What if one of us didn’t attend Campus Crusade at our separate schools?  What if 2 other people were asked to lead worship that summer?  The “what-if’s”could go on and on, especially since this is such a small part of our story.  I just love thinking about it because it shows God’s faithfulness and His intimacy in the details of our lives.

I treasure the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.  I’ve learned a vast amount from it.  One of its repeated themes is to “remember well”.  It’s all over the book.  God is constantly reminding His people to remember all that He has done in their lives.  They were to remember how God brought them out of slavery, remember how they crossed through a sea on dry land because He parted the water, remember how He fed them and led them in the desert, and remember how neither their shoes nor their clothes wore out for 40 years.  I love that message to “remember”.  It seems like the more prominent message of the world is to forget…forget the past and live for today.  Well, I’ve found that if I forget the past, I can’t live for today.  Remembering God’s work in my past increases my faith today.  I’m so encouraged and strengthened by His faithful, consistent work in my life.  When I question His presence in my day, it’s the remembering that strengthens my faith.  The “coincidences” are worth remembering, writing down, repeating, and reflecting upon.  They point me to the hand of my mighty God who works ALL THINGS to the GOOD of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  What is the good He is working all things towards?…the good mercy of being conformed to the likeness of His Son, Jesus (Romans 8:29).

Thank you Lord for working all things, both hard and easy, to make me more like Jesus.  I love you.  Amen