Friday, February 26, 2016

Morning: Five Minute Friday

Linked up at Kate's site for another Five Minute Friday free-write. Won't you join us and enjoy the encouragement and community??

It's morning as I type this post. I read the prompt last night and wasn't sure how to approach it. Kate's beautiful post set my mind in the right direction though.

The celebration of Christ's Resurrection is fast approaching. Easter is early this year. I cannot imagine the emotions that morning to the full extent of those present, but Christians set aside some time leading up to Easter to reflect and center themselves. It is called the season of Lent. I don't always participate, but a few years ago, decided to give up a bad habit for Lent instead. I gave up publicly complaining (ranting) on Facebook and other places.
This year I decided to give up my snooze button. It wasn't making me more rested. I decided that I would intentionally set my alarm for a time, then instead of snoozing, I would dedicate that time to actually quieting myself and praying and listening for God's directive for the day.
I missed a couple days due to a terrible stomach virus that made its way through our family, but it really has made a difference.

Making an intentional effort to use your morning, when you're still at home, before you're facing the day's challenges that await outside your closed eyelids, that is where I'm finding God eagerly waiting for me. He's just sitting there with love in His eyes, watching me sleep and dream. When I groggily look into His face, He's beaming.
"Hello, my love. I've been waiting for you. I can't wait to show you what I've got for you today!"

Sometimes, it starts with a breathtaking sunrise. Vibrant colors my cell phone cannot comprehend, but my eyes were designed to behold. Sometimes it's the sound of the many varieties of birds, praising their Creator without a care in the world. They fully trust Him to provide all their needs and delight in His Majesty.
Someday, I'll be in a created world without sin, without cursing. It will be like this world, but so much better. Until then, I'm going to awake intentionally and try to appreciate that if this is already good, then how much better can it get?
(This video is embedded below, but in case you can't see it, I linked it too.)

32 That evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. 33 The whole town gathered at the door to watch. 34 So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. But because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak. 35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” (Mark 1:32-37)

Jesus stayed up late. He was working. If you've ever prayed for people and watched miracles unfold, you know how exhausted you feel (in a good way) afterward. And yet, before daybreak the next morning, He was out by Himself in a quiet place praying. This is our model and example and goal to strive for. We're "Later", like Simon and the others. Sleeping in because it was a late night.
Some of you are already well disciplined here, so thank you for sharing your wisdom in the comments.

Let us be looking for Him before our day starts. He's full of strength and power and willing to share with us!


P.S. If you don't give me your URL or your linkup number, I can't find your post to thank you and read your blessing of an offering.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Forget: Five Minute Friday

Come join the fun at Kate's place!!

Last week's prompt was Limit. I had reached my limit and was ill for 7 hours straight. I've been told it may have been Influenza B. I'm 10 pounds lighter and burst a blood vessel in my left eye. It's healing. But today, people noticed and were concerned. So, I didn't post. That's hard for me to skip a week. But I didn't forget to post.

This week's prompt is Forget.
Truly? I did forget. I forgot what it was like to be sick. We've been blessed with great health for the last four years other than coughs and colds and aches and chills. Our stomachs have been passed over like the Hebrew children of Egypt. Spared unimaginable horrors and plagues. The last time I had this kind of illness, I had a 3 month old child and was so dehydrated after I feared she'd be unable to nurse again.

But you know what I had also had time to forget? What it was like to be in a quiet place and let God pour out His creativity on me. I'd been running on empty and running dry. When God needs a workaholic to take a rest, sometimes the prescribed cure is illness. (Or injury.) @Jeanne Takenaka

I am a first-time "real" teacher this year instead of just substitute teaching here and there. It has blessings and challenges like any new job. One of my joys is the weekly preschool and elementary chapels I get to teach. It's like Vacation Bible School each week. What we need to remember is not to get too serious and turn it into a grown-up's liturgical service. So this week I put on my apron and whipped up the recipe for kindness. We had a great discussion on 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18. And that kindness is the middle of the fruits of the Spirit list in Galatians, so if you have the first four, kindness is a natural fit!

Next week, I'm turning on the ovens in the kitchen (shares a door with our chapel) and baking snickerdoodles in bite-sized morsels as an object lesson of the aroma of our offering to God. How our thoughts and actions can be pleasing or unpleasant. And kindness always tastes good, but without the Holy Spirit in our lives, we can never be kind. Our natural reaction to pain is "ouch", not "I love you."

Feeling so so so much better and refreshed, even if it took seven violent hours first before I could really rest. :)


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Focus: Five Minute Friday

Over at Kate Motaung's house, we write every Friday on a prompt for five minutes. Most of us that attend Thursday night's Twitter party receive the prompt "the night before" and decide to post at that point, or on the following day.

This week's prompt is "Focus".

As I type this, it's way past bedtime and it's almost Sunday. A little later than a Friday post should be composed. But this past week, God has been taking His time to teach me this lesson of focus.
In my teens and twenties, I still was learning who Tammy was. Once married, I still didn't really know. Even becoming a mother almost three years later, I was still searching for that stability of knowing who you are.

And now that I'm in 2016, headed for my 35th mile marker of life, I'm learning that who I am revolves around my Focus.
What is my priority and where do I place my worth and value? If it's in the hands of anyone besides my all-forgiving, all-understanding Jesus? It's rubbish. I can allow compliments to go to my head and esteem me higher than I deserve. I can allow complaints and criticisms to go to my core and devastate the very essentials of my being.

Or, I can stand on Psalm 139. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Ephesians says we're God's masterpiece.
No matter what the messages of insecurity say, those that attack me from the magazine covers and the marketing so that I'll spend my time and energy and money on perfecting my outside, they are drawing my Focus away from my very purpose.

"16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

I encourage you to read that entire chapter. There is so much hope and life and strength in God's words to us. Last week's prompt reminded us to be quiet. It's so we can focus on what God has for us today. All we have is today. Let's ask Him for the plans and focus on those, so the other things can grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace. :)