Sunday, September 29, 2013

Keep My Tongue from Evil!

Once upon a time I overheard a conversation between two "church" women at a restaurant.  Let's call them Pearl and Vivian.  Pearl declared, "Well that's my gossip for today."  But the conversation continued and soon she announced, "He's not a very good deacon.  He shouldn't be on the board."  If I could hear this conversation in a crowded restaurant so could several others.

My immediate thought was, "And she is not a safe person.  This is not a woman you can trust."

It made me think of how easy it is for us to criticize others.  We are so quick to ignore the warnings of Scripture to STOP gossiping, and yet it is so dangerous to the Body!  It is easy to make a "humorous" comment at the expense of another.

One of the prayers we may hear in church before the sermon is, "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord."  I'm thinking we should all pray that prayer a whole lot more!  How often do we drop a comment, make a judgment, call into question someone's character, say things that tear down, rather than build up?

I wonder if there are people who have heard me say things that make them cringe and think, "She is not a safe person.  I can't trust her."  This conversation made me recommit to being the kind of person others feel is safe, and they can trust.  Conversations...words...comments are so slippery.  They have a way of slipping out without us meaning to let them go, which is why making sure our hearts are meditating on the right things is even more important.

Ps 34:13  Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.

I think we would be amazed if we knew the impact our words have on others and the kingdom.
Lord, let the words that come from my mouth bless others and glorify you.  So be it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Here's Me

(Please note that on the right sidebar there is a place for you to enter your email address to get notices each time there is a new blog.  I'm a lot behind in the tech age and finally figured out how to do this. I appreciate all those who journey with me.)

The next book on my reading list is Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown.  I've been told it is excellent.  I've been told vulnerability is about courage, and trust, and making relationships more real.  I'll let you know what I learn after I read it.  In the meantime I'm giving this vulnerability thing a whirl.

The past couple of months I have been in a bit of a spiritual crisis.  I know what I believe, and I know that what I believe is true. I also know that I don't know or believe nearly as much as God wants me to...keep going Holly, keep growing! I know that I know, that I know God has created each one of us; that God has a plan and a purpose, which we need to live in to in order to experience the abundant life Christ came to give us.  I know this!  But I'm not feeling it lately.  I'm not experiencing it.  "I can't make it happen."

Integrity is one of my core values.  I need to practice what I preach, and I want to do that faithfully. On the one hand I have had such a powerful "calling" into this Midlife Momentum ministry; on the other hand nothing has been coming together for this next year.  I've been trying some new avenues, and maybe it is too soon to see where it is leading, but it feels like a dead end.

As I contemplated and prayed about it I have found myself, on a couple of different occasions, throwing my hands up and saying, "I can't make this happen."  And immediately I sensed God saying, "And that surprises you?"  Of course I can't "make this happen."  It is the work of the Spirit and the timing of God.  I wrestle with "Letting go and Letting God" and trying to understand what my part is in developing this ministry. But I am still stuck with my frustration.

Then last week in a conversation with a good friend I shared my frustrations and some new things I was thinking about doing, rather that focusing on Midlife Momentum full time.  I was feeling guilty, that it might be leaving what God had called me to.  She challenged me to see how it might fit together; how it might be the next step on the journey.  It drew me back to something I had written 4 years ago...that basically once we figure out what God has called us to it isn't a "done deal."  The call of God is evolutionary.  We continue to grow and change and the "call" continues to build on what God has been teaching us.  I know the need to provide transformative opportunities for midlifers is important for the individuals and for the kingdom, but what will that look like?

So I feel a bit like I am wandering around in the wilderness looking for the next oasis.  I would appreciate your prayers as I seek to live faithfully and peacefully into all God has in store.  

Isaiah 40:38  Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

I need this verse, and I "can't make it happen" on my own...we all know that, right?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Boom...and it is fall.

(Please note, on the right there is a place to enter your email for notices of each new post.)

I don't think I have ever experienced a year when Labor Day weekend was like flipping a switch quite so much as this year.  It was uncanny!

I was driving down the street on Tuesday taking in all the sights (the flowers, weeds, tips of colored leaves, children with back packs heading dow the sidewalk) and sounds (cicadas), and smells in the air that are just uniquely fall. The slanting of the sunlight is different; the breeze feels different. Boom! From summer to fall, just like that!

It got me thinking about seasons of change, and how in our lives those of us in midlife are in the fall season as well. It too sneaks up on us, catching us unaware. But there it is, with all the adaptations we need to make. There are things we need to leave behind, things we need to pull out of the closets and decide if they are still useful, still fit our personalities and needs, still need to be refreshed, or passed on, or just plain dumped.  What will we hang on to, and what can we let go of?  

It has been interesting this week to also have those days that feel like flashbacks to summer, with 90 degree days...but it is still defintely fall. (I know, not technically.)  Transitions!  Changes! Celebrations for what has been and is now...preparations for what is to come.  What are the important things that are happening inside us, around us?

In this midlife season we look at our calendars and realize we have options about how we will fill these days, and weeks, and months, and years. Will we wake up each morning and ask God what should be on the agenda, or will we let other people or circumstances dictate what takes priority? Will our time be lived out wisely? Will we live intentionally, or by accident? With peace, or anxiety?

Fall is my favorite time of year, though I'm not certain why.  It might be that sense of new beginning that comes with a new school and church year.  It might be a return to a rhythm.  I might be the sense of maturity and productivity, fields and trees ripening, apple cider and pumpkins, or simply the beauty, the colors and light. 
"It is good," as the Creator might say. 

Will I relish this fall season of life as well, paying attention to the colors, the winds of the Spirit, the relationships that evolve, the opportunities to ripen into mature godly people? Will I carry the presence of God and the Spirit of peace and joy into the rooms I enter? Will I be there to lift up, care for and listen to those in their winter, as well as being there to bless and feed and nurture those in the spring and summer of life?

Rather than deny our age and idolize youth we have the chance to model a healthy midlife that embraces all of the blessings that come with years of life, experience, growth, relationships, and relationship with the God who created us...for just a time as this.