I see through new lenses these days. No, I didn't get new glasses.
I have a new way of life. One that still consists of the family I treasure and work that I love—ministering to people. But one which now includes numerous therapies, doctors' appointments, calculated outings, and even trips to be measured for the "electric chair." Sounds scary—but I am referring to a motorized wheelchair, complete with accompanying accessible van. Bars and ramps have already been installed in our home as we live out our "new normal."
Self-protection is not the same thing as self-care. It took me many years to see how I was self-protecting, and how this self-protection ultimately hurt me, others, but most of all God. Here is how I think of and differentiate between the two:
Who doesn't love Psalm 23? For three verses it's all smiles and peace, all dancing through flowers.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
It's been a year and a half since I broke up with someone I loved. I can say in full assurance, it was one of the darkest times of my life. I literally thought I was going to die from the pain. Yet, it was one of the best, and most loving decisions I have made both for myself and the other person. This was the beginning of my journey to contentment as a 30 -something single.
He's an "old soul" at six years old. I'm often taken aback by conversations with my grandson. On the playground, he might be found playing ball with his friends,or asking his teacher how her day is going and if teaching makes her happy. That's just the way he rolls.
Confession: Faith has never come easy for me.
I have lived most of my Christian life with a constant voice in the back of my head saying, "But what if it's not true?" These days, the voice is mostly just a whisper (some days I don't hear it at all); at other times, it's been a full-on shout.
I often find myself asking, "God, what do you want me to do? I'm such a pragmatic systems person, just tell me what to do, keep it simple and I'm good to go." Jesus' answer to this question can really frustrate me.
"The people asked Jesus, 'What are the things God wants us to do?' Jesus answered, 'The work God wants you to do is this: Believe the One he sent.'" -- John 6:28-29 (NCV)
Whenever I read the book of Exodus, I can't help but picture a scene like this:
God and Jesus are hanging out in heaven, watching Moses step up and challenge Pharaoh. Moses thunders, "Let my people go! Or else..."
God rubs his chin and asks Jesus, "Or else what? Hmmm. How can I save My people AND tell a story that gets the attention of nine-year-old boys from every culture and generation, forever and ever, amen?"
Jesus leans in with a grin: "Three words, Dad: PLAGUE OF FROGS."