Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Change

Change.

Not something that I generally seek out or look for.  I am a creature of habit and routine and I enjoy it.  However, a little over two years ago my life was forced to change.  I wasn’t given a choice.

I remember writing about struggling to sort out God’s voice and wondering how you would know if and when you heard it.  I have not developed an ability since that time and am still inherently human and inherently flawed.

Go figure.

God’s voice doesn’t boom down from the heavens speaking to me audibly and loudly, leaving no doubt of His will.  I still pray and, at times, even though I know God hears, I even find myself giving God permission to pass them over for more important and pressing things.

As if that is how God works…

But why would God care about the day to day issues of my life?  Ok.  Maybe I can sometimes understand why he would care about Steven and his health and life.  Yes.  Those things are far reaching and affect our children… But the daily details of our living?  Does He care to hear about that?

I believe He does.  More and more.  Each and every day.  I believe He does.

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I have described myself as having “prayer ADHD”.  My prayers aren’t exactly formal, and I don’t always sign on, or sign off.  My prayers tend to be more open ended conversations, generally one-sided, that happen all throughout the day. 

*If I hear of someone that needs a prayers, I start mentally speaking to God on their behalf in that moment.  It might not be pretty, or fluid, or even…reverent.  It comes off as more of a plea.

*If my morning goes smoothly and things seem to just fall into place, I thank God for over-seeing my struggle and helping me out.  (You know, sometimes just getting the kids in the car, on time, and to work/school without someone wanting to cry is a miracle in itself.)  

*I talk to Him about relationships or concerns.  I ask Him to shut my mouth when I need it shut and to open it when it needs to be opened.  I ask for him to intercede and help others when they, too, are struggling.

In short, there is a lot of mental, one sided conversing that goes on…

I imagine God shakes His head a lot at me.

Yes, maybe due to the “mental noise” that I have going on in my head, most conversations ARE in fact one sided.  However, often times God is still gracious and shows me the answers to my prayers quietly in the coming days.  They may be shown to me in the love of those around me.  The answers may be shown to me by witnessing an example of a behavior (and the often unseen ramifications) of a behavior that I don’t want to exhibit, but may have found myself tempted to.  And sometimes they are shown to me by His silence.

Yes, the answers usually come, but rarely are they direct or announced.  Most times I have to look for them…

However, when my “one sided thought conversing” is interjected with an extremely foreign thought, I take note.  And I wonder…was that God?  Is he telling me what to do?

There have seldom been times that the thoughts were SO foreign that they literally stopped me in my tracks, but it has happened.  These moments stick with me and, well, me being me, I have to think about them.  Sometimes I really don’t want to.  Sometimes what I feel that I am being asked to do isn’t comfortable.  Sometimes the thought placed on my conscience is sobering.  And sometimes what I am asked to do requires a huge leap of faith.

And I have to ask myself…do I have faith?

The answer isn’t as simple as I would hope for it to be.   Faith is something that is easy to cling to if it requires nothing of us.  However, any time there is a challenge, or something that is uncomfortable, I believe it is in our nature to look for a loophole.  When it comes to knowing with certainty that you have heard God’s will, for me, I have found there is no way to know without a doubt.  This alone leaves a little wiggle room for you to give yourself permission to take a pass on acting on something you believe you are called to do.  You can actually justify your actions regardless of what action you decide to take.

Faith also means that IF you do act, you can’t bail out when the going gets tough.  God never promised us that the path He called us to walk would be easy…just that it would be worth it.

Believing that is faith.

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“If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.”

While at church a few weeks ago we had the previous verse as our Responsorial Psalm.  For years I had heard it and not thought much about it.  I think at first glance you would think, “Why would my heart ever harden if I was to hear God’s voice?  I love Him.”  But I began to think of it differently.  I think the earlier justification that I wrote of could potentially be a hardening of our heart. Only we know our true motives…and those motives don’t have to be evil to be against what God is telling us to do.  Just different.

The twinge we feel when we see a homeless person…but then we tell ourselves “well, they are probably making more money than I am just by standing here begging on this corner”.  Is this a hardening of our heart?  Or are we just being realistic?

I’ll be the first to say I don’t know.

That is an example that we may not come into contact with very often in our small rural town…but we all have examples that are personal to us.  You probably have scenarios that apply to you and your life and justifications that you have made.  Or maybe it’s just me.

I will say that with many things, upon examining my own conscience, my own behavior, and my own environment, I have found that change has been necessary, and in most instances what was best for me, my family, and my relationship with God.

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Recently, I have found myself making voluntary changes in my life and I am trying to wrap my head around this.  I am unsure if all of life’s shakeups caused by Steven’s illness has made me much more brave, or if maybe I am just hearing more clearly.

Either way, things are definitely changing.

The last two days I have been out of town training for my new job and learning a wealth of information about the systems in which I will work with.  I am currently sitting on a bed in a hotel room typing on a computer. (A hotel, not a hospital!) I have gotten to know several other women from other school districts and I may have been the dork that called home to Lakyn and said (much like a five year old)  “your mama made some new friends today!!!” 

 Yeah, God isn’t the only one shaking His head at me. 

But that is ok…because I am convinced he also smiles at me sometimes too.  Why else would the timing of this trip…which has been scheduled since my first week in January, coincide with the first week of Steven being off of steroids-again?  Steroids that he was NOT on in January?  (Oh how I love/hate that drug!)


I hear that absence makes the heart grow fonder…and mine was already pretty fond of him!  Good thing I will be home tomorrow night!

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Please keep praying for Steven and for continued improvements with his health and mobility.  You have all been instrumental in us surviving all the changes we have endured the last two and a half years and have, whether you know it or not, encouraged us to be better and do better.  You have all been amazing and supportive, and we wouldn't have made it this far without you.

Your prayers have caused...CHANGE.  Change in both Steven's health and in us as people.  And, yes, God only knows there are still things that this girl needs to work on.  Many things, in fact.

Change.

Never forget how powerful your prayers are.