Five Minute Friday: Disappointment

Disappointment was what I felt when I checked Lisa-Jo’s site for this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt. I didn’t join up last week, and was looking forward to the community and inspiration. Here’s my attempt to participate, despite my lack of prompt. I still followed the rules: write for five minutes, and don’t go back and edit.

GO

I hesitate to call them disappointments.

However, I am left without an appropriate word for the situations we have continually found ourselves up against since our move.

A string of disappointments.

Followed by glimpses of hope…that God cares, that He knows, that He’s working.

I loved the light today. Another one of those familiar things that I had allowed time and distance to erase from my memory. Overcast skies, like a blanket of steely gray cotton rolled out over the Puget Sound. Shots of sunlight, bursting through small tears in the cloud layer. The contrast of gloom and brilliancy tricks the eyes into tinting the landscape. Like in those movies where they shoot through filters.

Today was filtered in blue. Not a primary blue that is fit only for kid’s rooms, but a cadet blue. It seemed to be more a reflection in a sheet of stainless steel than real life.

Is that what is meant by silver lining?

Every disappointment is actually a redirection. I can’t call them disappointments because God has always come through with something better. There is confusion and grieving over what we thought would be — it would feel false if there wasn’t — yet we press on forward in confidence that God’s plan is greater.

The be still and know, the lean not on your own, the hear and obey.

Allowing God’s brilliancy to pierce the fog of our understanding, and tint the whole world with Him.

STOP

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What You Have to Do for God isn’t so Great

Many times we Christians set each other up for disappointment. The primary response to the announcement of our move was:

“That’s so exciting! I know God is going to use you in a great way! You have big things ahead!”

{Ok, one person did tell us that we were being irresponsible and flippant about moving with our four kids and no immediate provision, but they were probably PMSing, and not a good Christian.}

Purging our stuff, packing up boxes and driving north, we were ready and willing for the “great” and “big” stuff to find us! Visions of what was ahead of us clouded our minds and filtered our conversations.

“Here we are God! Send us! Blow us away with what we’ll do for you! We’re ready for anything!”

Six weeks later, I’m staying home with the kids and Josh is working for our friend’s home remodeling company {thank you God for provision}.

Not quite the “mighty” we were expecting. In fact, we had one person ask us flat-out, “Why couldn’t you do that in California?”

I floundered for an answer, and all I could come up with was, “God said move.”

Have you ever noticed that when people envision going back in time they’re always a queen or a knight or a gentleman? No one thinks they’re a serf.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all bitter at God for transporting our family from the southwest US to the northwest. We have reunited with friends and reconnected with family. We’re exactly where God has called us to be.

And, it has only been six weeks, that’s a nanosecond to God. I’m not willing to reduce myself to an “are we there yet” toddler; pestering Him for a turn-by-turn breakdown of our journey. When I need to know something, He’ll let me know. God is not a GPS suction-cupped to my forehead.

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Why do we say that? Is it because we’re afraid for the person, and want to build them up? Could it be because we still hold on to the picture of success that is force-fed us by our culture? I wish I knew, because I’m completely guilty of it myself.

What if what we have to do isn’t so great? 

Jesus spent His time doing not so great things, by the world’s standards. I know I’ve talked about this recently, but it’s the primary theme running through my brain right now.

He hung out with the dregs of society. He didn’t set up a non-profit organization, or intentionally build a platform. He just traveled around having encounters with those the Holy Spirit led Him to.

In the market place, while waiting for His meal, and just walking down the road. His focus was the relational, not the remarkable. In fact, He even cautioned people to keep secret the things He did for them.

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As a do-er, I like to focus on the action; tackling the task at hand to achieve the goal. Maybe the purpose of the words “sacrifice” and “abide” in my life this year are to show me that I need to sacrifice my desire to take action, and rather to allow the Spirit of God to abide in me and change my heart.

Forgiveness is a heart issue.

Grace is a heart issue.

Love is a heart issue.

Hope is a heart issue.

Once we allow the Spirit to work in our lives to purify and cleanse our heart, our actions follow. Forgiveness is easy, because we love others. Grace for others flows naturally out of the abundance of our heart. Love for neighbors, enemies, others aligns with Paul’s outline to the Corinthians, because it’s God’s love. Hope is simple because the unseen is seen through His eyes.

The “great,” “might,” “big” things that God has to do might not be through us, but in us.

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Home?

This will soon be home once again!

When I’m in California, and I hear the word home, I think of Washington.

When I’ve visited Washington, and I hear the word home, I think of California.

Apparently home isn’t where the heart is, it’s where the body isn’t.

Now, we’re moving back home. Our family and friends are eager for our return from the prodigal land (i.e. California). We’re returning with our arms full of children, instead of empty like that wayward son. For years, our parent have been on the look-out for us, each moment expecting to see us coming round the bend in the road. Till now, our bends have led us away from them. Full circle, we return older, educated and sleep-deprived.

During this season of limbo, between knowing we are moving and the actual move happening, I have not been unaware of the similarity of our situation to that of our spiritual life. Home is here, and home is heaven. We know we are not destined to remain here forever, but we are still living in this space and moment.

Over the next 22 days, Josh and I will be preparing ourselves (and our home and children) for a massive departure. We will purge the unnecessary, pack the memories, plan the route and acquire the tools for travel. However, we will also abide in the moments, savor the “lasts” and cherish the relationships we leave behind (physically, but not emotionally).

In the same way, we Christians live our lives becoming holy and Christ-like looking to our eternity in heaven, while we cultivate and keep the creation God has placed us in and come together as a Body. Home is in the here and now, yet also in the then and there. 

Lord, help us to abide fully in our present, dwelling in your presence, and in communion with one another. Help us to plant down roots in the place you cultivate for us, so that it’s a process to transplant us. Keeping in mind at all times that our ultimate home is with You.

{Linking up today for the One Word @ A Time Blog Carnival on Home!}
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Five Minute Friday: Backwards

It’s Friday {finally}, and I’m so excited for what this weekend will include! An in-person meet-up with the online friend who is solely responsible for my current Chick-fil-a addiction. Guest posting tomorrow on the blog of an author I respect and admire {check my new blog Facebook page tomorrow for the link!}.

Add to that the joint birthday party we’re having for Elijah & Cora, and it’s an eventful weekend!

And then, of course, there’s Five Minute Friday! Today’s prompt from Lisa-Jo is: Backwards.

I sat myself down, wrote for five minutes, and left it unedited for your perusal. If you feel so inspired, leave a comment below about your response to backwards, or {if you blog} link up over at Lisa-Jo’s place to join the party.

GO

A.W. Tozer once said in one of his sermons that people who pray for God to glorify Himself through their specific organization or mission had it backwards. They were seeking their own acclaim, and not the glory of God. As Josh and I look toward our future in Washington, we fight this same idea. It’s so natural to ask God to provide for the perfect position or ministry for us to participate in so that our calling can be fulfilled. Our intentions are correct, but the attitude is skewed.

Our friend keeps telling us that we’re moving to Washington to glorify God. Not to fulfill our calling. Not to justify our education. Not to save people {although that would be cool}. For God to be glorified is the greatest goal, because it is outside of ourselves. 

Tozer goes on to tell of an evangelist who was planning on visiting a church, and was told that a revival had already occurred and his services were no longer needed. The evangelist told them to “hold the revival for me.” 

Lord, in all of my dealings, in all that I do, let it be for Your glory. May the words of John the Baptist be mine, that I would decrease and You increase.

STOP

Happy Friday!

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