Friday, June 25, 2010

Unplanned Plans

The funniest thing just happened. Sort of. I am sitting here with my computer in my lap, really wanting to write. I have a million thoughts, analogies, and insights rolling around in my head. Nothing was really pushing its way to the front, though, so I was looking through some rough drafts I had saved to see if anything tripped my trigger there. I was just putting the finishing touches on one especially smart, poignant piece when the dog I really wanted came along to lay next to me, put her head on the edge of my compter, and somehow deleted the whole thing. (I can tell you that it was smart and poignant because none of us will ever see it. I'm not smart enough to recover it from the bowels of cyberspace...)

Anyway, instead of looking for something new to work on, I tried to go back and re-create it. I stared at the blank screen trying to remember the sheer genius of the phrasing that had seemed so right but got...nothing. I have to start fresh.

Life is just like that sometimes, though, isn't it? We think we have everything perfect, just the way it should be, and something comes along to completely wipe it out. We scramble, trying to fix it all back up. I have the image of the tide rushing in to dissolve a child's sand castle. Instead of moving to higher ground, they tried to rebuild the castle, a futile effort as the sand is being pulled out to sea.

I think about all the times the rug has been pulled out from under me. I use up all my energy trying to fix things, make them look just like they used to, instead looking for the new path. The new opportunity. The fresh start. But it doesn't always feel like a fresh start, does it? Sometimes it feels like failure. It feels like we have done something wrong.

This is where faith comes in. In Isaiah 43:18-19, God says "Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" Sometimes the Lord is trying to take us a new direction, to open new possibilities up to us, and we are trying to make the old stuff come back.

Every day that we wake up breathing is a new possibility. A new dream. If you are reading this post, that means that God still has a plan for you. Open your eyes and look around...His plans don't always look like our plans, but they will accomplish The Purpose that He has for you.

Sometimes, when I'm playing Legos with the kids, I try to use all the blocks of a certain color, and I find that I don't have the right pieces to make my masterpiece. I switch colors, or add a new one, and find that I have everything I need to make something far grander than I imagined. God has given us tools and gifts to make the dream He has for us a reality. Are you using them all? Is there something still in the box that you haven't tapped into yet? Have you even asked Him what direction you should be heading in, or are you still running backwards, looking for that old path?

Life is dynamic, ever-changing. The end of a plan doesn't mean just means that a new one is starting. How exciting is that??

Author's note: For me, this morning, I was praying for God to show me something new, to show me the direction He wanted the blog to go. The only way He could show me was to take away the thing I was clinging to, the other writing piece. Hmm.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cat Person or Dog Person?

The world is divided into two types of people and dog people. I've never considered myself a cat person because I am allergic to them. And seriously, I always tell myself, who wants an animal that doesn't acknowledge you most of the time? You care for them, feed them, provide everything they need, and if you're lucky they will rub up against your leg every once in a while. Most of the time they act like they don't care if you are there or not.

No thanks. I want to be loved and recognized. When I walk in the door, I want my little buddy to be so excited to see me he is chasing his tail in a circle, running in and out between my legs. I want a little pal that will sit with me while I read, that will have fun times running around, and that treats me like I am the center of his universe. I want to be showered with doggy kisses, not merely tolerated by an animal that thinks she is superior to me.

I guess that makes me wholeheartedly a dog person. And, if I can be really bold, I say God is a dog person. And, if I can be really honest and not make your hackles rise, most of us act like cats. Just chew on that for a moment.

God's word tells us that He is always with us, but do we talk to Him? Do we get up each day just excited to be in His Presence for a while, knowing that as we go about our day He is right there? Or, do we, metaphorically speaking, rub up against His leg on Sundays, or maybe just religious holidays, and pay our respects? Are we living like we know that He is the One who provides all we have, or do we just expect it to be there? Are we the center of our own universe, or have we invited Him to be Master?

I think the biggest difference between dogs and cats is that no matter how you treat a dog, they still love you. They need lots of training and discipline to shape them into a creature that won't soil the house, dominate other animals or people, and just to learn the rules of getting along with the rest of the world. It's all part of the shaping, and dogs seem to thrive on that.

Oh, I so want to be a dog. When God is discplining me, and He does shape us according to His will, I push back. I resist. I question if He knows what He is doing. How will I become the person He intended me to be if I don't learn to listen?

How about you? Deep down, are you a dog person or a cat person? Would God agree? When is the last time you snuggled in His lap for a good belly rub? Or, are you still just tolerating Him? He wants so much more for your relationship than that, friend.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flight Plan

So I'm feeling the itch of a big dream tugging on my awareness. I can feel my engine idling, getting ready to take off somewhere. I only have two problems.

I don't know where I'm going, and I have a whole lot of baggage. Ok, maybe baggage isn't the right word. Obligations. Distractions. Requirements. Restrictions. Kids. Family. Lists. People who need me.

Being that it is summer, and these things are part of the protocol for motherhood, maybe I am the one with the confused flight plan. If God has set me back in this season, it must for a reason. Maybe I need to spend more time actually "being" where I am at, instead of treating it like a layover on the way to somewhere more exciting.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to give you a hope and a future, plans to prosper you and not to harm you...You will seek Me and find me when you seek Me with all of your heart." Jeremiah 29:11, 13

Dear Lord, Please let it be enough for me to know that there is a plan for me, without needing to approve the itinerary first. Help me to put one foot in front of the other every day, all day, in a way that pleases You. In Jesus Name, Amen

Monday, June 7, 2010

Beans and Butterflies

Sitting on the dresser in my little boys' room is a jar with a dead caterpillar in it and a styrofoam cup with a dried out bean plant laying in the dirt. Both of these items were carefully set there with high hopes and anticipation of beans and butterflies by each child. However, Connor did not want me to plant his seed in my garden where it might stand a chance of growing, and Justin lost interest in the caterpillar after two days of not seeing it turn into a butterfly. Little kings of the short-attention span, they are. I'd like to pretend I have no idea where they get that from, but I see it in myself all the time.

I'll be praying for something, diligently, for like a few days, then get distracted by the next big item on the agenda. Or, I'll hear a great message at church, get all fired up about something, but forget exactly what it was that got me all fired up in the first place. I don't water and feed the seed that needs nurturing to actually germinate and show results in my life.

You may not know this or remember, but instead of choosing a New Year's Resolution, I chose a One Word Revolution. My word for the year is ENDURANCE. Staying the course. Playing until the buzzer. I have a habit of slowing to a walk once the finish line is in sight. Not that I give up exactly, I just decide that I have sort of succeeded so it is ok to slack off a little.

Maybe you do this, too. Get a little lax on the homework expectation for your kids or let the bedtime slide because school is almost done anyway. Or financially, it's almost pay day and there is still money left, so let's spend it. Here's my favorite though: I have already screwed up my (diet, studies, finances, fill in your own blank here), so I might as well give up.

Don't confuse ENDURANCE with perfection. It does not mean a job perfectly done without mistake or relapse. It just means that when you recognize the detour you're on, you don't use that as an excuse to change the course or expectation. You make the correction and get headed back in the right direction. So you missed a few days of working out, having quiet time with the Lord, laundry, whatever it is. You don't quit altogether. You make a plan to get back on track.

So, back to the dead beans and the dead caterpillar. Looks like that journey is pretty final. I don't see a resurrection of any sort headed our way there. But, we can use it as an example of what happens when we fail to nurture something. Things shrivel. They die. They do not produce the harvest of what we were hoping for. If we neglect God's Word, or quiet time, we cannot be surprised by a lack of result. If we do not nurture our relationships, we can't be disappointed when they don't flourish. If we don't water the plants or feed the pets, don't expect beans and butterflies.

James offers the best encouragement for enduring: "And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:4

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In The Beginning...

This is the first ever post from 2 1/2 years ago. I've aged a few years in that time, but just in case you were wondering how I got started, here you go!

What's It Mean, Anyway?

Coming up with a name for my blog was like naming a baby. You are judged by your name. People wonder if maybe your parents didn't like you. Or you could have a name with a lot to live up to, like naming your baby Winston Churchill. Here is your 'in a nutshell' meaning behind Live...from Ninevah:

Our pastor at Fox River Christian Church told the story of Jonah, who besides being swallowed by a whale as most of us have heard, was given a second chance by God to do what he was called to do. When God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, Jonah really didn't want to go. He got on a ship headed the complete other direction, a storm came up, and he was tossed overboard only to be swallowed by a whale. After being left to stew, literally, for a few days, he prayed to God for forgiveness and said let's go ahead and do things Your way. That whale spit him out guess where...on the beach back where he started, so he could head to Ninevah.

How does that relate to me, you're wondering? Let me confirm that I have never been swallowed by a whale. But I have spent a good portion of my life running from a God who only wants what's best for me. Twenty years ago I was a stay-at-home mom with little kids. And here I am again, 40 years old, a stay-at-home mom with little kids. Right back in Ninevah. And I'm ready to see what God has in mind for me.