In the Weeds

IMG_4911In the weeds. Sometimes you find encouragement in the most unlikely places. My daughter and I were pulling out weeds in my son’s backyard. This is a great job to do with someone because it is conducive to conversation and emotion. Pull, yank, haul, throw, chat, pull, yank, chat, throw, pause and repeat. It is one of those nice tasks where you are down in the dirt and leaves and weeds and it is easy to talk about all the things in life that are potentially choking your joy. We all have worries that we will either hang onto or toss in the refuse pile.

So I was telling my daughter all my ‘stuff’.  And would you not think a 61 year old Nana with 5 kids and 3 grands would have lived long enough to leave the litany of worries and complaints in God’s hands? But on I droned, bemoaning what the world has come to and adding the ‘this and that’ of my personal fears and hurt feelings and again…. worries.

And my dear daughter, down there in the weeds with me, helped me to look up. ‘Mom’, she said,’ At the end of the day you have to ask yourself, Is Christ enough?’ And I knew immediately what she meant and also felt the quick right then and there in that moment kind of relief in knowing God has these very days in his loving hands and I can rest from my worry.

I have been thinking about this all week. Worries are like verb conjugations – they have a past, present and future. I thought of April 15th, the very day I was facing a skin cancer op. My verse for the day was ‘I will trust and not be afraid.’ (I had worried my way through the month preceding the day.)

My husband and I headed off to the Micrographic/Dermatologic Surgery. Four hours and 18 stitches later, I was back home, relaxing in hubby’s chair, sipping a latte made for me by son # three, and I realized that my worries had now been conjugated to the past tense and all was well. I mean I did have a swollen eye, a livid stitch line, and a ‘skin wound care instructions’ pamphlet to follow, but the skin cancer was gone and as my granddaughter said, ‘It will be fine, Nana.’ (My grandson, on the other hand, said, Nana, please put your sunglasses back on!’) A couple of months later, I am fine with barely a scar.

We all know that things don’t always work out so nicely. God is not Santa Claus or a magic genie. We don’t know how He will answer our prayers. Thus we sit in the weeds and worry instead of enjoying this unique day we have been given. This morning as I was on the last mile of my run, this song came sweet and clear from my ipod to my heart.

In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus.
You can have all this world. Just give me Jesus.

When I am alone, give me Jesus.
You can have all this world. Just give me Jesus.

When I come to die, give me Jesus.
You can have all this world. Just give me Jesus.

I purpose to live a more ‘in the moment, trusting Jesus, joyous’ kind of life. Pull, yank, throw, there goes that worry. Pull, yank, throw, there goes the next. I don’t want to let the joys and God given pleasures of this day be choked out by the worries of tomorrow.

Years ago when we lived in Brazil for a short time, I complained to my friend Maria after a particularly hard day. I described it in my halting Portuguese as a ’dia horrivel’. She responded, ’Oh, no, Viviana. This is the day which the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.’

She was quoting an often repeated verse from the Psalms. Another translation says it like this: This is the day that Lord Jehovah has made; come, we will leap for joy and rejoice in him!

Look up. Find the joy. Leap for happiness. Savor the goodness in this day. Rest in Christ. These days we are living in are given to us by God. Enjoy them. Enjoy Him. And yes, Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, who loves us and gave himself for us, is enough.

Jesus Never Promised I’d be Pretty

stone of helpJesus never promised I’d be pretty. This I said to my husband as I looked at the gash on my face from a relatively minor skin cancer op. Then I put on my running shoes and headed out to run and think.

I thought of all the things God never promised. He did not promise Adam and Eve they could do their own thing with no consequences.   He did not tell Job there would be no trials in his life. He didn’t tell the Psalmist there would be no valley of the shadow of death. He did not promise the NT believers that they would not suffer tribulation. He did not tell the martyrs throughout the ages that they would not suffer for the gospel. He did not tell Corrie Ten Boom that her life would be persecution free. He did not promise Nate Saint that his mission to the Auca Indians would bear fruit in his lifetime. He did not promise us a hassle free, easy, perfect life.

But He did promise to be with us- in the valley, on the mountain top, on the level path, even unto the end of the age. He promised to save us to the uttermost, completely and forever. He promised to always intercede for us; in fact, he ever lives to do this. He promised peace that passes all understanding. And he promised that when all is said and done our tears will be wiped away and we will live with Him forever. I love all the superlatives – the most, the best, the highest. Extreme promises.

All the promises of God are yes, says the Bible. I like that. To which we say, amen . That means, by the way, another yes. A resounding unqualified yes……..

As is often the case when I run a song kept coming to my mind.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m come;
Samuel, after a God given, miraculous victory, placed a stone as a reminder that God gave victory, salvation and help. He called it

ebenezer

Ebenezer, the stone of help, and said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

.Ayuh, I thought as I finished my run. I think I’ll go find a stone or better yet many stones and emblazon upon them the promises of God. I could put them on my windowsills, bookcases, bedside stands, places where I can see them every day.

But then I remember that God’s very words are already written on my heart.

And that, my own personal Ebenezer, I raise.