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Archive for November, 2011

Perspective

I never fail to be amazed at the change in perspective of most anything, when the circumstances change.  One can be so sure that they are looking at a particular subject from every perspective, and making conclusions based on all known facts, but then the circumstances change and amazingly so does our perspective!

This fact brings to mind a particular story from our younger years.  We were visiting Rick’s parents for a weekend and attended church with them.  Our toddlers were in the nursery that Sunday and my mother-in-law (who seemed to us at that age to be teetering on the verge of old age) made a comment that my husband and I found to be enormously humorous (but we certainly didn’t let her know we thought so!).

She was encouraging us to let our little fellows be cared for in the church nursery that Sunday because she and Dad were on nursery duty that week and would enjoy caring for them there.  And then she commented thus:  “We have decided that we younger couples will man the nursery now, because it is our grandchildren that are in the nursery.”  My husband and I have chuckled about the “younger” couples caring for their grandchildren for years and years.

However, the subject has not come up for a good while now and then this morning Rick and I were reminiscing about our fun weekend with our children and grandchildren at breakfast.  Then, as conversations are bound to do most times, it wandered its way from subject to subject until later we began discussing how long we could probably still consider ourselves to be ‘middle-aged’.  We decided between us that ‘youth’ must certainly stretch from birth to around age 40, ‘middle-age’ must be from age 40-ish to age 70, and the senior years, or ‘old age’ perhaps from somewhere around 70 to 110.  (If we lived beyond 110 we would decide the category at that time.)  And so, in our silly conversation we decided that we would be middle-aged for a good while yet.

Suddenly Rick started chuckling.  I asked what was funny and he said this conversation reminded him of all those years we had chuckled at his mom’s comment about the ‘young couples’ caring for their grandchildren.  Oh, my!  Now we really laughed!  And this time the laugh was on US!  What a change in perspective!  Now, we ARE the age mom was when she made the comment and it suddenly isn’t hilarious at all!  It’s simply a fact.  And we realize now that she was younger than we thought.

Hmmmm…..amazing what perspective does!

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Patience

Have you ever struggled to be patient?  I mean…really, really struggled?  It seems I have always struggled to be patient.  I seem to have no patience at all.  None.  Zip.  Waiting is hard.  Enduring seems impossible.

Ok, I think I have just done something stupid.  After what…8 years (at least) since working as an optician, (for which I was licensed and have done it for years and years) I have accepted a part-time position near here and now I find I must prove I can do what I’ve done LOTS of through the years.  Of course it makes sense.  Of course they want to see what I can do before allowing me the freedom to just do my job, but this is SO tedious!  Every moment all day long I am shadowed by someone watching over my shoulder so that I’m doing everything wrong and my mind keeps going blank (WHY does it do that when I need it most?), so that she can’t help but think I’m a dundering idiot.  And I sit here tonight wondering:  Do I really have the patience to do this for three more months?  (I’m on 90-day observation.)  Oh, I groan at the thought of it!

Why must I be such an independent spirit?  Why is tedium and boredom so unbearable for me?  I just want to be given the job to do and then be allowed to do it.  But…I think God has just sent me back to school.  I think it’s not ‘optician school’, but ‘patience school’.

Have you ever noticed the way God will from time to time ‘test’ us in an area wherein we are weak?  Well…apparently I am currently in ‘Patience School’ for a good reason and all I can pray is that I can learn this quickly and move on!  Oh!  Am I being impatient again?  Well, there you have it in a nutshell!

I have to think of Romans 15:3 and 4 which go like this (in the NIV):  “For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written:  ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  Wow!  It doesn’t get much plainer than that!  I MUST learn to endure.  And, I think, not just gritting my teeth and getting through, but looking for learning in the experience and using it for ministry opportunities.  II Timothy 2:3 says “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”  And it really doesn’t get much plainer than that!

So…when I’m whining and sighing and begging, “Oh, God!  Please get me out of this!” He’s saying to me, “Endure hardship like a good little soldier!”  Ok!  Ok!  I’m enduring!  I’m enduring!

And in the meantime, I can be thankful it’s not FULL time!

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Today I sit alone in my quiet and orderly house.  Remembering.  Thinking.  Praying.  And yes, wiping a tear now and again between smiles and sighs.  And I contemplate so many things.  My mind refuses to quiet itself until I write…

Just yesterday our house bustled with two-year-old energy and chatter and clutter and questions and giggles and love.  Our son and daughter-in-law were blessing us with another cherished visit of our precious granddaughter.  I realize it’s very hard for them to part with her for a few days now and again, but they know it’s good for her and it’s priceless for us and so they selflessly do this periodically.  And it blesses us more than they can know now—but hopefully, someday when they’re grandparents and their house is quiet and their hearts lonely for that special family-love they’ll finally comprehend what a gift they have given.  I do pray God will bless them accordingly.

But…back to the thoughts tumbling through my brain.  I’m thinking of discipline—how difficult it is to receive; how heartbreaking it is to give.

One evening as I prepared Audrey’s bath she was asking a million questions and filling the tub with toys and lots of bubbles.  Then, suddenly, she disappeared.  I had the towels out, the shampoo handy, the lotion and clean night clothes standing by, but when I called “Audrey!” there was only silence.  I went to Rick to see if she was with Grandpa, but he hadn’t seen her since I’d taken her to the bedroom/bathroom area.  Again and again I called.  The house was silent.  I’d just started to think about the ‘baby-snatching’ story on the news lately when I realized how very impossible that was.

“Audrey Lynn!”  And my pounding heart was just forming a prayer when I thought I heard a quiet giggle.  I headed for the bedroom from whence the sound had come and stood very silently.  Then I heard some ever-so-slight movement behind the bed.  So I stood quietly and waited, wondering how long she could be quiet.  It didn’t take long.  Soon she was peeking up over the edge of the bed, and to her surprise my face was right there looking at her.  At first it startled her and she suddenly realized she’d been found.  But, I think at almost the same moment she realized that she had not come when she was called and I think she suddenly thought that perhaps her game was actually disobedience.  Her little face crumpled, her eyes got large and she said, “Please don’t ‘pank Audrey, Gah-mah.”  Oh!  My heart melted to my toes.

I scooped her into my arms and held her close.  “Audrey, you were teasing Grandma.  Of course I won’t spank you!”  I’ve never even come close to spanking her!  Why would she think that?

Thinking back over the whole incident, I realize that her little two-and-a-half-year-old mind has only begun to distinguish the differences in teasing, playing, and outright disobedience.  It was an impulse that she followed without the advantage of age and experience to process the decision first.

Her parents are teaching her well and she is an unusually compliant child.  But still flesh is flesh and the carnal heart will go its own way.  She will someday realize her need for complete forgiveness from a loving Father just as now she is beginning to understand that she needs correction and forgiveness for her small errors from loving parents.  Her little body is growing, and with it, her little mind is being formed and taught and learning to reason, and her little heart is so very tender.  How very much I pray for her.  And I pray that her tender little heart will only be strengthened—never bruised and battered.

How I thank God for her wise parents; for godly family on both sides; and for the love and forgiveness awaiting her from the Creator of the Universe.  And I pray for her to know Him completely while she is young so that she can grow in Him and enjoy a life of peace and joy.  We may have good times together as a family, and she may feel secure in our love, but there is nothing as secure and joy-filled as knowing God intimately.  Oh, how I pray this for her!

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